Rules for Gothenburg University Library's special reading room

In addition to the Library's general terms of use, there are specific rules for the use of materials in the special reading room.

The special reading room is intended for specific material

The special reading room is intended for the study of materials that are fragile or valuable. This applies to the following materials:

  • Manuscripts
  • Material printed before 1700
  • Different types of special collections
  • Rarities

If the material you need is available in digitised form, we strongly recommend that you use the digitised version. The physical material is only brought to the special reading room when it is necessary to study the original material.

How to get access to the special reading room

You must do the following to get access to the special reading room:

  • Bring a valid GU card or library card. If you don't have a card you can fill out an application, and if you have a Swedish personal number you can then pick up your library card at the information desk by showing valid identification. If you don't have a Swedish personal number you can apply for access to the special reading room by filling out a form at the reading room desk. In this case, you don't need a library card.
  • Bring valid identification, to identify yourself when asked. If you are from a country other than the Nordic countries your passport is needed as identification. If you are from one of the Nordic countries you need a valid national identification document.
  • Note your name and arrival time in the reading room ledger. When doing this you accept the rules of use for the Gothenburg University Library's special reading room.
  • Note your name and time when leaving the special reading room, both when taking a temporary break and when your visit is over.

What you can bring to the special reading room

You can only bring the following into the special reading room:

  • Notebook
  • Pencils
  • Computer
  • Camera
  • Mobile phone
  • Books needed to study the material

There are lockers available close to the reading room that you can borrow to store your coat in.

Loan period

Special reading room loans have unlimited loan periods. However, if the material gets reserved by another patron, you may need to return it after 30 days. Otherwise, you can continue using the material.

Handle the material with care

The manuscripts and the special collections are part of our cultural heritage and are meant to be preserved for future generations. Handle the material with the utmost care. If the material demands specific treatment, the staff will assign you to an appropriate seat in the special reading room.

Adhere to the following when using the material:

  • Keep the volumes, capsules and loose sheets sorted in the order they came in when they were borrowed to you. Take all possible means to ensure that the original arrangement of the bundles is retained.
  • Turn the pages carefully and do not stack open volumes on top of each other.
  • Separate sheets that are kept in plastic pockets should remain in these while you are using them.
  • Use bookends and weights according to the staff's instructions.
  • Use cotton gloves when studying photographs, negatives, and photographic postcards. In general, your hands should be clean when handling all material.
  • Maps and blueprints are to be placed flat on the table and should not jut out from the table.
  • Do not use prepared material as a desk pad.
  • Tracing is not allowed.
  • Leave uncut volumes to the reading room staff.
  • It is not allowed to take any material out of the special reading room without permission.

Photograph and copy material

Taking photographs with a handheld camera is allowed. Turn off the camera's flash and sound when taking photographs. Photography is not allowed in the following cases:

  • If the material is too fragile or if its size makes it difficult to handle
  • If the donor has reservations
  • If the material is available in a digital version

Copying and scanning of manuscripts are allowed in some cases. In these cases, you should use the scanner in the special reading room. No other scanning equipment is allowed.

You can also order digital and paper copies of the material from the Library's imaging services.

Contact and pricing details for copying

Obey the copyright law when publishing material

If you want to publish something from the collections you are liable to obey the copyright law and to ensure yourself that there are no legal impediments to publishing.

Always state the creator and the Library next to the image you are publishing. For example:

Lagerlöf, S. Reproduction: KvinnSam, Gothenburg University Library Söderberg, H. Reproduction: Gothenburg University Library

Contact us

Contact us if you have any questions about using the special reading room.

  • Describe your question