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SOAS Library

Requesting Material

The material we hold in Archives and Special Collections is rare and often fragile, so it is not held on open shelves but in secure, environmentally-controlled storage that only staff can access. You’ll therefore need to complete a paper requisition slip for each box of archive material, manuscript, rare book or thesis you wish to view so that staff can fetch these items for you. All the requisition slips you submit will be picked up from the Supervisor’s Desk in the Special Collections Reading Room at set collection times, so do make sure you put in your requisition slips well beforehand.

You can also order material by advance order over the phone or by email. Please include the information contained in the 'Order with this Reference' field for the item you require on the SOAS Archive Catalogue or paper finding aid.

Material consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room cannot be removed from the Library

Requisition Slips

Requisition slips are available in the Special Collections Reading Room and should be completed and returned to the staff on duty at the Supervisor’s Desk. You may submit up to three slips for each collection.
Please include full reference details about the item you want when completing your request. Please include the information contained in the 'Order with this Reference' field for the item you require on the SOAS Archive Catalogue or paper finding aid. Staff in the Special Collections Reading Room will be happy to help you complete these requisition slips.

Collection Times

Collections of closed access material are made four times a day, at the following times:

  • 10.00am
  • 11.30am
  • 2.00pm
  • 4.00pm

Please note material can take up to 30 minutes after each collection time to be brought to you from the store room. If for any reason you’re unable to look at material you have ordered that day, we can keep it on reserve for you for up to a week.

Advance Orders

If you would like to order material in advance of your visit please contact us by email docenquiry@soas.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)20 7898 4180.

You may order up to three items in this way. Please give at least one working day’s notice of your visit. Your order will be kept on reserve for you for up to a week.