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 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

Committee Vacancies

Join the Friends of Aberdeen University Library

The FAUL Committee currently has a number of vacancies and we are keen for members of staff from all parts of the University to get involved. The Committee meets about 6 times a year.

Current Vacancies


The Committee is looking to appoint a new Secretary who will work closely with the FAUL Administrative Officer to ensure the effective running of FAUL. The Secretary is one of the honorary officers of the organisation and as such plays a significant role in strategy and operations.

Committee Members:

The Committee also seeks up to two further members from across the University who are keen to contribute to and shape FAUL’s ongoing activities.

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

Please send expressions of interest in either the role of Secretary or in Committee membership to the FAUL Administrative Officer Mr Ewan Grant, ( by Friday 21 June.


Forthcoming Events 2019/20

Important Notice - Event cancelled on April 16, 2020 - Catholic sequestrations in early modern Scotland 

Due to ongoing COVID-19 situation this event has been postponed until further notice.

The mystery of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's library solved?

7 October 2019, 19.30 - 20.30 - This event is now fully booked.

The mystery of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's library solved?Join Dr William Zachs as he discusses the mystery of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's library in this evening lecture.

The recent recovery of a substantial part of the private library of the creator of Sherlock Holmes presents an opportunity to understand Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his world in new and unexpected ways. The collection includes special annotated copies of his own books - not least the very first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet (1887). Among the volumes are source books for the detective stories which have endlessly captured the imagination of the world. No less central to this collection are over one hundred presentation copies from such authors as H. G. Wells, J. M. Barrie and others which reveal Conan Doyle’s extensive literary, political, medical and social networks. The annotated copies of the writings or other Scottish authors - Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson in particular - further uncover dimensions of Conan Doyle’s literary influences and networks. 

Guest Speaker: Dr William Zachs, University of Edinburgh
Venue: The Sir Duncan Rice Library, Craig Suite, Floor 7

This event is now fully booked.

Duels, rebellions and slave children: Aberdonians in the Ceded Island

24 October 2019, 18.00 - 19.00

Duels, rebellions and slave children: Aberdonians in the Ceded Island, 1763-1800Join Dr Désha Osborne as she discusses Aberdonians in the Ceded Islands in this evening lecture.  

On the 7th October 1763, at the end of the Seven Years’ or French and Indian War, the West Indian islands of Dominica, the Grenadines, Tobago, Grenada and Saint Vincent, along with East and West Florida, were ceded by the Treaty of Paris to British control.


In the years that followed, these colonies and territories experienced a surge of emigration from the North-East region of Scotland. In this talk I will explore the lives of two of these settlers – and of their mixed race children whose mothers were African slaves – found hidden within the archives of the Special Collections Centre. From an infamous duel with the National Hero of Saint Vincent, to the lost inheritance of another, Scotland’s relationship to Empire at the end of the eighteenth century is echoed by the lives of these Aberdonians and their families.

Guest Speaker: Dr Désha Osborne, Hunter College, City University of New York
Venue: Special Collections Seminar Room, Lower Ground Floor of the Sir Duncan Rice Library

Entry is free and the event is open to all.

From sea creatures to Polar flora: Scottish and Arctic narratives from the North of the world

15 February 2020, 14.00 - 15.00

Join Dr Monica German as she discusses Scottish and Arctic narrative in this afternoon lecture.

Guest Speaker: Dr Monica German, University of Westminster
Venue: The Sir Duncan Rice Library

Entry is free and the event is open to all.

Friends' News

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

Apply for Funding

Friends of Aberdeen University Library Postgraduate Research Bursaries 2021/22

Applications are invited for the Friends of Aberdeen University Library Postgraduate Research Bursary awards 2021/22. This award of £3000 is offered to a candidate 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 September 2021 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 7th July 2021.  

General Funding

The Friends will consider applications for funding, usually up to £3,000, 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 Visiting Scholar Awards

Applications for the Visiting Scholar Awards are now closed.

Friends of Aberdeen University Library Collection Development Awards

Applications for Collection Development Awards are now closed.