Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Reading Room services

Our Scan & Send service is enabling digital rather than physical access by researchers. Images will be provided for research, rather than publication purposes, and large-scale digitisation will not be possible as we focus on supporting numerous requests. We will try to prioritise photography and scanning according to the urgency of need.


From 14 September, in-person bookable access to the Reading Room is possible for University of Aberdeen staff and students.





Frequently Asked Questions

What is available online?

  • While access to materials in person is restricted, remember that this website includes online catalogues, information about the collections and digital collections


What is Scan & Send?

  • We are now providing a Scan & Send service to provide images of items in the collection for researchers. Images will be provided for research, rather than publication purposes, and large-scale digitisation will not be possible as we focus on supporting numerous requests. We will try to prioritise photography and scanning according to the urgency of need. Please email requests and queries to
  • Unfortunately, we are not able to carry out research on your behalf. Please provide specific details where you can to help us respond to your request.
  • Scanning requests will be prioritised according to urgency of research need. Please advise us of any deadlines - academic, publishing or other - that might apply. We may not be able to respond quite as quickly as in normal circumstances - please allow a turn-around time of up to 12 weeks for non-urgent enquiries.


Who can visit the Reading Room?

  • Currently, research visits to the Reading Room are only possible for University of Aberdeen staff and students.


What materials are available in the Reading Room?

  • Most items in the collection will be available, but it may be necessary to limit the number of materials available on each visit.
  • All items will be brought to your desk; browsing in Local, S and RR Periodical Collections is not currently possible.


How do I arrange a research visit?

  • At least a week in advance, please email the Wolfson Reading Room on, giving details of the material and when you wish to visit.
  • Priority will be given to time-limited research needs.
  • You will be sent a registration form with details of the material that will be available and the arrangements for your visit. You must confirm these arrangements by emailing at least three days before your visit.
  • Please let us know if you have any additional access, including accessibility, requirements.   To  ensure Fire Safety, the Reading Room will not be accessible by lift, so alternative arrangements will need to be made in advance


When can I visit?

  • Appointments will be offered Monday to Wednesday to enable staff to continue to offer the Scan & Send service for researchers unable to visit in person.
  • Appointments will be subject to availability of research space in the Reading Room.


Can I visit on consecutive days?

  • This may be possible by advance arrangement. As spaces in the Reading Room are limited, we aim to provide research access fairly and equitably.
  • If you require a return visit, but have not made an appointment for another day, please speak to a member of Reading Room staff.  If material is not reserved in advance for re-use it may not be available again for 72 hours after last use to ensure material can be quarantined between different users


Can I make research copies?

  • Yes.  You are encouraged to make digital research copies of most items in the collections. Staff will advise in advance of any conservation or copyright limitations that might apply.
  • Please bring your own camera, or phone; for quarantine reasons staff are not able to digitise material on the day of your visit


Will the lockers be available?

  • Yes.  You will be allocated a specific locker when you register 
  • Please place your belongings in the designated locker and only take into the Reading Room what you need. A token will be in the locker when you arrive. Lockers are used by one person per day and are cleaned after each use.


What can I bring with me and what facilities will be available?

  • Please be aware that normal Reading Room guidelines still apply
  • Please bring your own laptop, tablet, smartphone, camera, notebook, pencils, pencil sharpener, magnifying glass etc. Unfortunately, we cannot provide equipment for sharing
  • Designated toilet and handwashing facilities will be available.  Please wash your hands before entering the Reading Room as hand sanitiser residue can damage items in the collections – hand sanitiser may not be used or brought into the Reading Room
  • Water fountains are not currently available, so please bring your own water (which should be left in your locker).
  • The Hardback Café will open soon, with seating available on the ground floor.  Take-away options are also available on High Street.


Will I need to wear a face covering?

  • Wearing a face-covering is required at all times in the library, other than in the Hardback Café. Please advise us in advance if you are exempted from wearing a mask.


Do you collect information for contact tracing?

  • Yes, records of who has been in the building may be provided to the NHS to support Test and Protect.


What other Health & Safety measures will be in place?

Enhanced hygiene measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission include:

  • Transparent screens at entry and enquiry points 
  • Hand sanitiser stations around the building, including outside the Reading Room. Please note that hand washing is required before entering the Reading Room due to the risk of gel residue on materials.
  • Staggered arrival times for researchers
  • Designated socially distanced seating in the Reading Room
  • All materials, book supports, weights, microfilm reader etc. quarantined for 72 hours between use.
  • Lockers and hard surfaces in the Reading Room cleaned regularly and between visits
  • Social distancing signage and routes through the building
  • Enhanced cleaning schedules for toilets and touch points