Reading Room

The Open Access collections at the Special Collections ServiceThe open access book collections at the University of Reading Special Collections Service can be found in the reading room and in the rooms on the open access library corridor, which is accessible via the door next to the current periodicals shelves in the reading room. Please ask a member of reading room staff if you require any assistance.

Most of the books in these areas are catalogued on the Enterprise online catalogue, which can be consulted in the reading room. Books and other printed items from these collections are not available for loan, but are available for readers to browse and study in the reading room during their visit. Please return any books from these collections to the wooden trolley next to the photocopier after use. 

Reading Room reference books

This collection is located at the end of the reading room, and includes general key reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias, glossaries, Who's Who and a selected number of books relating to the University Special Collections and the collections of the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).

Planning your visit

We recommend that you contact us in advance of your visit with details of the documents and items that you wish to see as most material is on closed access. This allows us to have the material ready for you for when you arrive.

See our page on Requesting items for more information.

If you can't identify items in advance please contact us to discuss your interests. When you visit we will be able to offer you the appropriate catalogues and assistance.

Beckett Collection open access book collection

The Samuel Beckett Collection contains books by and about the Nobel Prize-winning writer, dramatist and poet, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and is located in room G7 on the open access library corridor. The collection contains nearly 500 editions of Beckett's work in more than 20 languages, together with nearly 1,000 critical and biographical works and journals. This collection is catalogued on the Enterprise catalogue.

Knowlson Beckett open access book collection

This collection is the working library of James Knowlson, the author of Samuel Beckett's biography Damned to fame : the life of Samuel Beckett (1996). The collection includes editions of Beckett's works, critical works, journals and books on art, literature, theatre, poetry and other subjects that relate to the study of Beckett. The collection is located next to the Beckett Collection open access book collection in room G6 on the open access corridor, and is currently being catalogued on the Enterprise catalogue.

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