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Using Our Collections

Special Collections are available for everyone to use, whether they are Brunel students or staff, or external users. Please see the collection descriptions for access conditions for individual collections.

The collections cover a wide range of subject areas, including transport history, the Channel Tunnel, working class autobiographies, poetry and dialect, equality and advocacy.  

Special Collections Alumni Exhibition



Diorama view



Special Collections - Volunteering

Volunteer using our collections


How to find items

Work to catalogue the collections is ongoing, but details of printed items may be found by searching the Library Catalogue. Collection descriptions for our archival collections may be searched on the Archive Catalogue. Please email us in case of difficulty locating material in the catalogues.

Finding out how collections are used

We also have blog, Twitter, and Instagram feeds where you can find out more about our collections and how they are used.


Opening times

Our reading room is open by appointment only on Mondays - Wednesdays, 9.30am - 5pm, each week. We are closed on all public holidays and other advertised periods of university closure. Opening times are subject to staff availability and you can check when we are open on the Using our collections Libguide. Appointments must be requested at least two working days in advance of your visit, by emailing special.collections@brunel.ac.uk

We are based on the third floor of the Library. Entrance is via the main staircase/lift.

Code of conduct

Access to Special Collections material is subject to a code of conduct. You will need to complete a reader registration form on arrival, indicating that you have read the code of conduct, and bring your university ID card (Brunel students and staff) or two forms of ID (Brunel visitors) with you to your appointment.


For external users from participating academic institutions, wifi access is available in the reading room via Eduroam. You will need to check with your home institution and register before your visit to Brunel.


Are you interested in using our collections to teach a workshop? You will find further information on our Teaching and Learning page.

New to using archival or special collections material?

If you have never used archive collections before the Archives Hub has some guidance on finding and using archives, as well as getting the most out of a research visit.

We have a blog post on How to use Special Collections, aimed at the new user.