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Between Monday 20 July – Friday 25 September, the reading room will be open on Monday and Friday mornings only between 10.00-13.30.

You must book in advance to consult material in the Archives & Special Collections Reading Room. Please view the ACSRR Reopening Guidelines for Readers for details.

This service enables registered staff and students of NUI Galway to place requests to access Special Collections items and Archival material in the Reading Room. 

What material is available for consultation?

  • Special Collection printed materials such as books/journals/maps/newspapers.
  • Print Archival collections.

Who can avail of this service?

All registered students and staff of NUI Galway.

When can I consult material?

Items will be retrieved and ready for consultation between 10.00 and 13.30 every Monday and Friday.

How long can I stay?

Between 1.5 and 2 hours, dependent on arrival time.

How will I know my items are available?

Staff will confirm by email. 

How do I access?

You enter James Hardiman Library via podium emergency entrance. Ring Special Collections on arrival at 091-493476 indicating your arrival. Please wait for a Reading Room staff member to collect you and escort to the room.

What should I do in advance?

  • Please indicate arrival date and preferred time, at least 24 hours in advance.
  • As service limited, please prepare literature search as much as possible before arrival.
  • Please email indicating items you wish to consult.
  • You must request the items you need 24 hours in advance using the Library Catalogue at Please login using your NUI, Galway login details first so that the request facility will be available to you when you locate your chosen material on the catalogue. The login tab is on the top right of the page.
  • To consult archival collections, please first check our Archives Catalogue at to identify collections.
  • If you require guidance on collection elements, please email archivists, who will advise by email on return. Contact details are on the Archives Libguide.
  • Material can be requested by emailing at least 24 hours in advance, and

Note the identification details of the collection as well as specific item numbers for the material you would like to view. No extra retrieval will be possible on arrival.

Do I need ID to access Reading Room?

Yes, you must bring your NUI Galway student or staff ID CARD with you. 

No walk-in access will be permitted.

Using the room?

On arrival, your items will already be placed on one of 6 reader spaces. In compliance with COVID 19 regulations, you will be asked to thoroughly wash your hands. You will need to bring your own headphones as none will be provided. Only one booking a day for using digital archives within room. Access to photocopier will be restricted. Requests for further retrieval during visit will not be permitted.

Will lockers be available?

Yes, but please indicate locker number to staff members.

The Archives & Special Collections Reading Room is located on the Ground Floor of the Hardiman Building. It is set aside for the consultation of materials from our Special Collections, including rare and antiquarian books, maps and older newspapers as well as items from any of the Archives.

Due to the specialist and rare nature of the materials in use here, special Guidelines for Readers and Conditions of Access are in place for visitors to this room. 

Facilities in the Archives & Special Collections Reading Room include study spaces for consulting material, using WiFi and photocopying.  A sound booth is available to anyone who wishes to consult archival and special collections material that has a sound component.  For further information on using the sound booth, please contact the staff of the Archives & Special Collections Reading Room at

Lockers are provided for readers to store property while working on Special Collections or Archives material.



  • Highlights from the Special Collections

    Highlights from the Special Collections PDF (42.9 MB)