Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Reading Room services

Our Scan & Send service is enabling digital access by researchers.  

Images are provided for research, rather than publication purposes, and requests are prioritised according to the urgency of need.  Large-scale digitisation will not be possible as we focus on supporting numerous requests.   


Additionally, in-person bookable access to the Reading Room is now possible for Aberdeen University Staff and students.   Appointments should be made in advance, and are available Monday to Friday.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is available online?

  • Although access to materials in person is restricted, remember that this website includes resources such as online catalogues, information about the collections and digital collections that can be accessed remotely.


What is Scan & Send?

  • We are 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 image 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?

  • From 26 April research visits to the Reading Room have been 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.
  • Most items will be brought to your desk; please let Reading Room staff know if you wish to access to collections - Local, S and RR Periodicals - that are shelved in the Reading Room.


How do I arrange a research visit?

  • At least a week in advance, please email the Wolfson Reading Room on, giving details of materials and the date(s) 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 email to 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
  • Please note, research visits are available for individual researchers only, group visits are currently not possible


When can I visit?

  • Appointments will be offered Monday to Friday, 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 24 hours.


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; staff are not able to digitise material for you 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 Guidance | Special Collections | The University of Aberdeen (
  • 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 immediately 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
  • A water fountain is available, please bring your own bottle to refill and please follow the H&S guidelines posted by the water fountain.  Water bottles should be left in your locker - for preservation and conservation reasons water is not allowed in the Reading Room
  • The Hardback Café is open, and socially distanced seating is available for café customers at the rear of the ground floor.  Currently, food and drink, other than bottled water, may not be consumed elsewhere in the library.  Take-away options are available on the Old Aberdeen campus.


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 immediately 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. cleaned or quarantined in accordance with updated guidance
  • 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