Virtual Reading Room

How it works

Our Virtual Reading Room (VRR) uses special cameras and video conferencing to provide remote access to our special collections, making our Rare Books and Special Collections more accessible. 

  • VRR appointments are free and run for up to one hour. 
  • VRR appointments are available to everyone; you don’t need a membership to view suitable requested materials.

Items you can request

You can request the following items from Rare Books and Special Collections:

  • one boxed collection from Rare Books and Special Collections
  • two other items from Rare Books and Special Collections – e.g. a book or manuscript.

You can’t request:

  • videos, audio recordings, CD-ROMS or floppy disks
  • items still under copyright, including theses.

Book a VRR session

  1. Make a Booking at least two days in advance to select a time and provide details of the items you would like to view. 
  2. You will be emailed a Zoom link to log in to the session at your nominated time once we have confirmed the requested items are suited for the service.

Suggested items for VRR 

If you’re interested in using the Virtual Reading Room but not sure where to start, here are a few suggestions from our collections:

  • Discovery of Witchcraft – an item from the occult sciences, demonology and witchcraft collection, published between 1520 and 1999.
  • Acciaioli historia fiorentina – an illuminated copy of the history of the Florentine people, published in 1476.
  • al-Tashrih bi al-Taswir - An illustrated treatise on human anatomy and one of the earliest known texts to include a coloured atlas of the human body in the Persian world, written between 1400 and 1450.
  • Find other Rare Books and Special Collections items.

    Navigate to our Special Collections page
  • Contact

    We're here to help, online or in person. Email the Virtual Reading Room team at

    Contact us