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The great majority of Rare Books material can now be requested online through the iDiscover interface. This service enables all registered members of the Library to request items in advance of their visit, from their home or workplace. 

Requesting an item

Please make sure you are logged in to iDiscover. You will see a blue 'Request' tab above the details of items that can be requested online. Simply click this, then the green 'Request' that appears on the pop-up box, and the item will be fetched for you. An automated email will let you know when the book is ready for consultation in the Rare Books Reading Room. Please note that requests submitted after 18.00 will be available the following day, and those requested after 15.00 on Saturday will be available on the following Monday. 

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Please try to request material no more than five days before the date you expect to consult it. if you are planning a visit a few weeks away, you are welcome to send us a list of classmarks via email to

Collecting an  item

When you collect your book, you will be asked to sign a slip for each volume, as is done for books requested on paper slips. We will also issue them to your iDiscover account but this will not count towards the number of books you can borrow (if applicable).  

Books are issued to your account for a week and renew automatically for up to a month. If you have rare books issued to your account that you no longer need on reserve, please inform a member of staff and they will be removed from your account and returned to the shelf. We will keep books reserved for five days from the date on the paper reservation slip, unless you tell us otherwise.  


Works in several volumes: If you require multiple volumes from a set, it is generally more efficient for you to email staff with the details rather than requesting each volume individually through iDiscover. You can also fill in a paper form in the Rare Books Reading Room for multi-volume works.  

More than one copy of a title: If the catalogue contains more than one copy of a particular title, you should click on the blue highlighted section beginning “Order to Rare Books Reading Room” for the copy you would like to see. If you click the blue “Request” button at the top before selecting a copy, the system will automatically request the first one on the list for you. It is not possible to order more than one copy through iDiscover; if you would like to call up multiple copies for comparison, please either request them on paper slips, or email the team at and we will do this on your behalf. 

If you have any enquiries about this service, or find items cannot be requested as you would expect, please ask a member of staff in the Rare Books Reading room or email us at