About Reading Special Collections

Our collections, which include rare books, archives and manuscripts, are substantial and varied, particularly for a University of this age and size. The majority result from donations: the tradition of acquiring special material is as old as the University, the bequest of the Overstone Library in 1920 setting a pattern. The collecting of manuscripts and archives began in a systematic way in the 1960s, and from the start has been dominated by the programme to collect and manage British publishers’ archives.

Two of our collections have been recognised as pre-eminent collections of national and international significance – the Beckett Collection and the combined records of British publishing and printing – and have been awarded MLA Designated Status by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

Get in touch: Email Special Collections or see our contact page for more ways to contact us.

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