Skip to Main Content

Special Collections' & Archives' Subject Support: Academic Staff: Request a Class

How Special Collections can help you with your research, teaching, learning & assignments.

Teaching Spaces

Our diverse collections of rare printed books and unique manuscripts can be used to support teaching within the University.

Update 2021/2022: Please be advised that for 2021/2022 we in Special Collections & Archives are open to discussing options for delivering teaching with collections. Special Collections & Archives has two different spaces available which can be used by teaching groups who need to work with the collections. However the maximum capacity of each space below has changed:

  • Rare Books Reading Room: As this room is a shared space with other users who are using items from other collections the capacity of this room is 24 people. If your class group is larger than this we recommend splitting the class size or providing advance notice whereby the room will not be available to other users. For the latter the capacity of the room is 30 people. Items to be examined will be used in this room and can include items from the Reference Reading Room. Please note this room also houses a book scanner.  
  • Microform Room: There are 6 machines available comprising Microform Readers, Reader/Printers and Reader/Scanners]
  • Reference Reading Room: please note this room is not available for classes.

The following options are possible:

  • In-person classes where the total number of people (students, lecturers and Special Collections & Archives staff member) does not exceed the room capacity as above. We require a two week notice period to alert other users as the space will not be simultaneously available to individual users.
  • Virtual classes where the Special Collections & Archives' staff member is in the Rare Books Reading Room and we show particular items through Teams. All items would be agreed in advance and a limited number of items is recommended. This is how it worked for a 3rd year Italian class on Dante where Dr Daragh O'Connell spoke about the item to his class group and the class group saw different parts to the early modern item. 
  • The Introduction to Special Collections & Archives is accessible via the Library Learning Resources page on Canvas. The module is suitable for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The module provides an overview on what Special Collections & Archives is, how to use Special Collections & Archives and how different examples of primary sources can be used in research. The following examples of primary sources are present within the module: legal documents, letters, manuscripts, maps, newspapers and prints. Like all the modules on the Library’s Canvas Course, this is a stand-alone, self-directed course.
  • Items from Special Collections can be included on Digitised Course Readings requests. 
  • With notice we can scan a limited amount of archival items and manuscript items from Special Collections & Archives (subject to copyright, size & condition of item) for inclusion on your specific modules on Canvas. Please contact the relevant person below with archival reference code or Special Collections' call number and details of item. We require at least 2 weeks' notice to facilitate each module request. Requests received with a shorter lead-in time will not be processed for that shorter due date and will still be subject to at least a two-week delivery span. 


Preparing for A Visit

  • The guidelines that apply to using the Special Collections & Archives' Reading Room also apply to our teaching spaces. Please distribute these guidelines to your students before class.
  • Before entering the reading rooms staff and students will be asked to place their coats and bags in our storage space. 
  • Pencils only, notebooks or laptops are permitted in the readings rooms. We have plenty of pencils!

Infographic on Academic Year 2020-2021

If you have any feedback, comments or questions please contact

Opening Hours

From Monday 29th November 2021 Special Collections and Archives is open Monday-Friday (excluding public holidays) to UCC staff and students, and members of the public. Individual Reading Room opening hours are as follows:

  • Reference Reading Room & Microform Room: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday, Friday: 11:00-16:30 and Wednesday: 11:00-19:15.
  • Rare Books Reading Room: Monday - Friday: 11:00-13:00 & 14:00-16:30.

For more information about what items must be requested and to request them via the online request form see Request Special Collections & Archives.

In addition we continue offering:

  • Scan & Deliver for Special Collections' material including items in the Reference Reading Room, Microform and items that show Special Collections by Request / Special Collections by Appointment on the library catalogue.
  • Reprographic requests for manuscripts & archival material via

Every effort will be made to fulfil scan & deliver / reprographic types of requests, but this may not always be possible due to availability, copyright restrictions, size and condition of materials.

If you have any queries relating to our collections please email This email address is monitored regularly.