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Rare Books & Special Collections

Rare Books & Special Collections

Rare Books & Special Collections houses the Library’s most valuable and vulnerable publications, including old and rare books, fine and limited editions, University of Adelaide publications and the specialist Pacific and Theatre collections.

It also takes responsibility for the collection and preservation of manuscripts and personal papers of members of the University community, particularly academic staff, and acquires collections of personal and institutional papers relating to its specific research strengths.  These include Pacific and indigenous Australian history and language, British and Australian theatre and University of Adelaide history.

Search Rare Books & Special collections

  • Current Exhibition
    The Folio Society: Where it's ok to judge a book by its cover

    The Folio Society was founded in London in 1947. It was the brainchild of book-lover and collector, Charles Ede, whose desire to combine the typographical and artistic standards of the private presses with the latest industrial technology, resulted in some of the most beautiful and imaginative bindings ever seen.

    This exhibition brings together 18 of the finest Folio Society publications, generously donated to the Barr Smith Library in 2014.

    Among the books on display, are three titles which were not produced by the Folio Society.  Visit the exhibition during Library hours, until 28th February 2015, to see if you can identify which books they are!

    One of our previous exhibitions, 140 Books, was very popular and prompted much discussion. A full list of books included in that display is available online.

  • Location

    Special Collections is located on Level 1 South of the Barr Smith Library at the University of Adelaide's North Terrace campus.

  • Hours of Opening

    Special Collections is open from 1.00pm to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday.
    Service outside these hours is possible if arranged in advance with the Special Collections Librarian (telephone 08 8313 5224).

  • Contact

    For general enquiries and information about Rare Books and Special Collections, please send your query to

    The staff of Rare Books and Special Collections are:

    Cheryl Hoskin

    Rare Books & Special Collections Librarian

    Telephone: +61 8 8313 5224 (or internal extension 35224)

    Lee Hayes

    Library Services Officer

    Telephone: +61 8 8313 5224

    Marie Larsen

    Library Services Assistant

    Telephone: +61 8 8313 5224

  • Use of the Collections

    Special Collections is open to members of the University and to members of other institutions and the public with appropriate identification.  Material from Special Collections is not available for loan and must be consulted in the Special Collections reading room.

    Some material from the collection may be copied. However, in order to protect and preserve valuable materials it will not usually be possible to make photocopies of manuscripts or rare books. Digital photography without flash is preferred. Arrangements for reproduction of  material by scanning or photographic means may be made with Special Collections staff.

    All copying and further reproduction (including publication) is covered by the provisions of the 1968 Copyright Act (Cth) and by any particular conditions relating to individual manuscripts and archival collections.

    Access to the manuscript and archival collections is by application. These collections are covered by formal access conditions and some collections and parts of collections have additional restrictions imposed by the donors.


Rare Books & Special Collections

University Libraries
The University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005


Phone: +61 8 8313 5224


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