Friends of Aberdeen University Library

Friends of Aberdeen University Library

Image of cats from the bestiaryThe Friends of Aberdeen University Library is a Registered Charity (SC009009) founded in 1962.

Membership currently stands at more than 200 people with addresses as far afield as Australia and Canada.

By becoming a member of the Friends you will help this unique Library to develop its collections in a way that will benefit the University community and the people of the North of Scotland. 


About the Friends

The aims of the Friends are

  • to encourage donations of funds and of books, prints, manuscripts and other items of interest to the Library
  • to help the Library buy special books, manuscripts and other items of interest
  • to encourage interest in the Library and the potential of its collections
About the Library

The Library at the University of Aberdeen is as old as the University itself. It represents a unique resource for teaching, research and scholarship. The Library operates an 'open door' policy whereby the riches of its collections are available for consultation to members of the general public. The Library is central to University teaching and research and it is also a key resource for the local community.

To visit us

To visit the Sir Duncan Rice Library you can register for an access pass at the Welcome desk on the Ground Floor. Please bring photographic proof of identity.

Our Collections

The collections are rich and diverse, ranging from manuscripts and early printed works to the most modern computer-based resources. They include:

  • the MacBean Stuart and Jacobite Collection
  • the Gregory Collection of Scientific and Medical works
  • The O'Dell Collection of books on railways and transport
  • the George Washington Wilson Collection of late Victorian/Edwardian photographs
  • the Local History Collection
  • the European Documentation Centre - with every official publication of the EU (held in Taylor Library)
  • over a million books and journals supporting teaching, learning and research in Arts & Humanities, Medicine, Divinity, Agriculture, Social Sciences, Science and Engineering, Law etc.

View Library Resources

Many of the treasures of the University of Aberdeen's Library have been digitised. View these online or search Primo, the Library catalogue, for items of interest. Simply click on the resource you would like to see or to use.



Members of the Friends benefit from:

  • A newsletter, which appears twice a year, with details of recent purchases made possible by the Friends, announcements and reports on Friends' activities, and news of the Library generally
  • Meetings (usually at least twice a year with one coinciding with the Annual General Meeting). These either feature an invited speaker talking on aspects of the Library's holdings or visits to Behind the Scenes areas which members of the public generally never see (e.g. the University Bindery)
  • The opportunity to become a borrowing member of the Library at special discounted rates
  • The opportunity to contribute to the development of the Library and its holdings

How to become a Member of the Friends

Membership is open to anyone interested in Aberdeen University Library. If you qualify for Gift Aid, the Friends benefit additionally from your subscription.

There are two forms of membership: Annual Membership or Life Membership.

Annual Membership

Minimum donation of £20.00 per annum 
Additionally, this membership allows you to become a borrowing member of the Library. The special discounted rate, in addition to the cost of Friends' membership, is:

  • Aberdeen Graduates
    £30.00 returnable deposit plus £15.00 annual subscription
  • Other Friends of the Library
    £30.00 returnable deposit plus £25.00 annual subscription

Life Membership

Minimum donation of £200.00. This can be paid either:

  • in one payment, or
  • spread over up to 4 years

Life Members of the Friends are entitled to free borrowing membership of the Library.

If you would like to join the Friends of Aberdeen University Library please download 
and complete a membership application form or contact:

Honorary Secretary 
Friends of Aberdeen University Library 
The Sir Duncan Rice Library 
University of Aberdeen 
Bedford Road 
AB24 3AA

tel: +44 (0) 1224 27 2587

Apply for Funding

Friends of Aberdeen University Library Postgraduate Research Bursaries 2022/23

Applications are invited for the Friends of Aberdeen University Library Postgraduate Research Bursary awards 2022/23. These awards of £4000 are offered to a candidates in the early stages of a supervised postgraduate research degree (PhD or Masters by Research) at The University of Aberdeen. It is a one-off bursary payment designed to support research based on and making particular use of rare and distinctive materials held in University of Aberdeen’s Libraries, Museums, or Special Collections.

Applicants must hold an offer of study from the University to begin in 2023 or be less than 50% through their period of study at that time. Applicants should complete the form below. Additionally, they should attach a research proposal of 1000-1500 words explaining their project and the relevance of the University’s collections to it. Projects will be judged on:

  • The academic merit of the proposed project
  • The feasibility of the proposed project
  • The strength of the connection to the rare and distinctive materials held in the University Libraries, Museums, or Special Collections

Further details on the criteria can be seen here.

For further information on the scheme, contact Dr Andrew Dilley, Chair of the Friends at

To apply please download and complete the Application Form. Please send completed forms to Ewan Grant, Administrative Officer of the Friends of Aberdeen University Library, at by April 16, 2023.  


Friends of Aberdeen University Library Visiting Scholar Awards 2023

Applications for the Visiting Scholar Awards are currently open for 2023. Full details on the awards and how to apply can be found on the Museums & Special Collections website.


General Funding

The Friends will consider applications for funding, usually up to £4,000, to acquire materials or support projects which enhance the Library’s collections and promote their use. These might include:

  • Acquiring rare and valuable books and others items which the University may not be able to purchase from other resources
  • Building and equipping exhibition areas within the Library
  • Providing research facilities for scholars studying the Library’s special collections
  • Providing other facilities which promote the Library and its use
  • University staff, research students and independent scholars are invited to apply.

To apply, please complete the undernoted form and send to Ewan Grant, Administrative Officer of the Friends of Aberdeen University Library at

Please describe the nature of your project, stating how your request will benefit the Library collections and other users, and explaining why alternative funding is unavailable or insufficient. Applications are welcome from students and staff of the University, Friends of Aberdeen University Library and other users of the Library.

Friends of Aberdeen University Library Collection Development Awards

Applications for Collection Development Awards are not currently open.


Forthcoming Events 2022/23

 Friends of Aberdeen University Library Annual General Meeting

Craig Suite, Seventh Floor, The Sir Duncan Rice Library

Wednesday 17 May, 7.00pm - 9.00pm


The Friends of Aberdeen University Library (FAUL) Committee are delighted to invite members, and prospective members, to the 2023 Annual General Meeting in the Craig Suite situated on the seventh floor of The Sir Duncan Rice Library on Wednesday 17 May 2023 from 7pm – 9pm.

We are pleased to be able to welcome you to this AGM where we will update you on work undertaken by the Committee over the last year, give an update on the financial position of Friends of Aberdeen University Library (FAUL) and discuss plans for the future. The evening will be enhanced with talks from Professor Michael Brown of the Department of History, and Susan Halfpenny, Head of Research & Learning Information Services at the Library.

Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing - Ewan Grant, FAUL Membership Secretary on

On the evening, please come to the ground floor reception at the Library to sign in and be guided to the Craig Suite.

Members are advised that there will be a talk given on the current Museums & Special Collections Exhibition - Legacies of Slavery: Transatlantic Slavery and Aberdeen from 6-7pm, just prior to the AGM. This must be booked separately - Cafe Arts - Legacies of Slavery: Transatlantic Slavery and Aberdeen 

FAUL AGM Timings

19.00 – 19.15

Gather in Craig Suite, Seventh Floor, Sir Duncan Rice Library – Drinks and Nibbles

19.15 – 19.45

Friends of Aberdeen University Library AGM

·         Welcome

·         Chair/Secretary Update

·         Finances

·         Office Bearer/Membership

·         FAUL Going Forward

·         Thanks, and wrap-up



Professor Michael brown - Chair in Irish, Scottish & Enlightenment History, University of Aberdeen

Talk on the recently relaunched Aberdeen University Press


Susan Halfpenny – Head of Research & Learning Information Services – Library, University of Aberdeen

Talk on the Library’s role in Open Research and Open Education


Neil Curtis – Head of Museums and Special Collections, University of Aberdeen

Neil Curtis will introduce the exhibition ‘Legacies of Slavery: Transatlantic Slavery and Aberdeen' and its context - Exit from Craig Suite down to Gallery area


End of AGM

Friends' News

The following issues of Friends' News are available in Adobe PDF format:

Committee Vacancies

Join the Friends of Aberdeen University Library

The Committee meets about 6 times a year.

Current Vacancies

There are currently no vacancies available on the FAUL Committee

Please direct informal enquiries to the chair of FAUL, Dr Andrew Dilley (

Please send expressions of interest in Committee membership to the FAUL Administrative Officer Mr Ewan Grant, (