Skip to main content

Reading Room Terms of Use

Using materials from Rare Books & Special Collections

All requests to view Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC) materials are submitted via Library Search. Log into Library Search to find RBSC items and submit hold requests. If you are external to the University and do not hold current Library membership, you can apply for a free RBSC Community ID enabling Library Search login to request RBSC material.

Please ensure you have received email confirmation that your requested items are on hold for you prior to visiting the reading room. Once requests are processed, items will be kept available on hold for 7 days. Please refer to the Library website for current Rare Books and Special Collections opening hours.

If you do not view your requested item within the 7-day period, the hold will automatically expire, and you will need to place a new request.

Rare Books & Special Collection materials must be used in our reading room and are not to be removed from it under any circumstances.

Our reading room is reserved for individual readers. If you are a group of three or more, please complete our group registration form.

When you arrive

  • Please arrive within our opening hours.
  • At your first visit as a RBSC Community ID holder, please present photo identification.
  • Coats and bags must be stored in the locked cabinet or on the coat rack.

In the reading room

  • Individual clients may use up to three volumes, one archival box, or one treasure item at a time.
  • Clients working in groups of two may use one item at a time together.
  • Make sure that your hands are clean and dry before handling our materials.
  • You may only use pencils, not pens; you must not mark any materials.
  • No food or drink is allowed, including water bottles, mints, and chewing gum.
  • Take care not to lean on materials; use the provided supports for books. You can use our soft book weights to keep book pages open.
  • A lightsheet is available for viewing negatives or paper watermarks.

Taking photographs and scanning

  • Flash photography is not permitted in the Reading Room; otherwise, you may use your phone to take photographs of material.
  • We have an overhead scanner in our Reading Room (for materials up to A3 size). Bring your own USB storage device.
  • Access terms for some items may be restricted due to their rarity, value, or physical condition.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have died.

The University of Sydney Library acknowledges that its facilities sit on the ancestral lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have for thousands of generations exchanged knowledge for the benefit of all. Learn more