Accessing General Library Special Collections and Microtexts

General Library Special Collections provides access to many of the Library's unique, rare or valuable material, and microtexts.

Services and assistance

Image: General Library Special Collections reading room.

Special Collections staff can assist University of Auckland members, including undergraduates, post-graduates and academics, with:

  • Identifying and accessing items from the published and archival collections in the Special Collections Reading Room.
  • Reference and research enquiries relating to the collections.
  • Identifying potential material for course lists or to use in academic-led, hands-on Reading Room classes. Special Collections staff members can take part in these classes and can also lead sessions, including subject-specific repository overviews and those that help students develop primary source literacy. Read more about teaching with Special Collections.
  • Use of the microtexts collection in the Microtexts Room.

Staff can also assist external researchers and members of the public to access the collections, with the understanding that our research and consultation service is limited for these patrons.

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Finding material

  • All material in Special Collections is catalogued, including books, manuscripts and archives and microtexts.
  • To find published material (books, serials and pamphlets), and microtexts, use the Libraries and Learning Services homepage search or search the Catalogue. To find archival material, search Manuscripts and Archives. The homepage search also retrieves archival material but Manuscripts and Archives is the recommended search tool.
  • Finding aids (inventories) for many of the archival collections can be generated by users and are also available in hardcopy in the Special Collections Reading Room.

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Accessing material

Image: General Library Special Collections archives.

All readers are welcome to visit without an appointment but we recommend those wanting to use archival material contact us first; some collections take up to 24 hours for delivery, while others require additional permissions to view. We also recommend external and out-of-town visitors contact us in advance to commence registration processes and to order material.

The following procedures are designed to help ensure that the rare and irreplaceable items in Special Collections are preserved and accessible for future generations of researchers.


  • University members and visitors can freely use microtexts in the Microtexts room during General Library opening hours. Special Collections staff provide microtexts assistance, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

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Copying material

Reference copying
  • Staff may provide reference copies of material from the published and archival collections where copyright, access conditions and the condition of the original permits.
  • With permission, readers can use digital devices (but not scanners) in the Reading Room to take reference copies for private study only.
  • Readers complete a copy request form to order copying by staff or for self-copying.
  • Copying charges are set out in the copying schedule.
Copying for publication


  • The Microtexts equipment can be used to take digital scans. Staff and students can save to memory stick or homedrive, and print using the University of Auckland Copy and Print Service (CAPS). Visitors can save scans to their own memory sticks.

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Contact details and hours

Special Collections
Level G
General Library
5 Alfred Street
City Campus

Reading Room: Monday to Friday, 12noon-5pm to access material. Bookings are recommended.
Counter: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm for enquiries and to place orders.
Microtexts Room: No bookings required. Open General Library hours.

We recommend booking at least one day in advance to allow time for material to be retrieved.
Email or visit the Special Collections counter, General Library, Level G.

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