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Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the UK and Republic of Ireland


The new in paperback edition of the Directory of Rare Book and Special Collections in the UK and Republic of Ireland, 3rd edition features an additional 72 libraries not represented in former editions. These cover England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, and represent the range of libraries present in the Directory overall from academic, public, subscription, ecclesiastical etc.
The Directory is the only publication to bring together rare book and special collections from all kinds of libraries across the British Isles and is an essential research tool for researchers and librarians throughout the world. Fully updated since the second edition was published in 1997, this comprehensive and up-to-date guide encompasses collections held in national libraries, academic libraries, public libraries, subscription libraries, clergy libraries, libraries for other professions, school libraries, companies, London clubs, museums and archives, and libraries in stately homes.
Consulting the Directory is an essential first step in a research project and it can answer question such as, "Where can I best research the reception of Jane Austen's novels?"; "Can I find Civil War tracts in a library near me?"; "Is Thomas Carlyle's library intact and in the public sphere?"; "Does Britain have the resources to study Nazi school textbooks?"; "How do I arrange my research trip to study Tauchnitz publications?" The Directory:

  • Provides a national, cross-sectoral overview of rare book and special collections
  • Provides a quick and easy summary of individual libraries' holdings
  • Directs researchers to the libraries most relevant for them
  • Assists libraries to evaluate their special collections according to a 'unique and distinctive' model
  • Enables libraries to make informed decisions about special collections acquisition and collaboration
  • Helps booksellers and donors to target offers
  • Entries in the Directory provide full contact details, and descriptions of rare book and named special collections including quantities, particular subject and language strengths, and information about salient features such as provenance.

Readership: Researchers, book historians, book collectors, special collections librarians, reference librarians, academic liaison librarians, library managers, booksellers, and other heritage professionals.

Karen Attar is the Rare Books Librarian at Senate House Library and a Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies, both of the University of London. She has published widely on library history and aspects of special collections, is the reviews editor for Library & Information History, and in 2012 edited the treasures volume Senate House Library, University of London.

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