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Information for Readers

The Library generally grants access to the collections if there is demonstrable reason for consulting them. While readers are usually of senior or postgraduate standing, with experience in the handling of manuscripts and early printed books, we welcome enquiries from researchers of all levels. Before applying to see original manuscript material, it is expected that readers will have made full use of surrogates, in particular the material available online on Parker Library on the Web (containing digital images of all premodern manuscripts) and the catalogues of the collection.

Application procedure

The Sub-Librarian is pleased to receive all applications. Please contact the Library, either by post or by email (, explaining the purpose for which access is sought, and the materials they wish to see. Please provide an academic letter of introduction from their home university or an institution of similar standing.

The Library is open most Mondays to Fridays from 9:45-12:45 and 2:00-4:45. We advise all applicants to contact us well in advance to book an appointment, as the Library often has a busy schedule. Failure to do so may mean that a request for a specific date cannot be granted, due to other, previously-arranged commitments. 

The Parker Library also houses an extensive reference collection of secondary literature that supports the study of our rare material.

Readers arriving at the College with an appointment should go in the first instance to the Porters' Lodge, where they will be directed to the Parker Library.  

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