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Archives and Special Collections: Visiting

All visits must be pre-arranged by emailing

Your arrival and leaving each visit day:

  • Access to BU's archival materials is available by appointment only, Monday to Friday.
  • BU Students and Staff may access some of our special collections in The Sir Michael Cobham Library ground floor mobile shelves without a pre-arranged appointment (ask at the Help Zone desk for advice and assistance).
  • You’ll need to be prepared to arrive on a weekday anytime from 9:30am and leave our Archive Researcher room at 4:30pm (Archive Researcher Room door pass must be returned before our Help Zone Library Staff end their desk shift at 5pm. And our two Librarians working in the Archives and Special Collections team are available until 5pm).
  • On arrival, please report to the Library Help Zone desk.

When you arrive (or via email pre-visit) you'll be asked and expected to fill in and sign some forms:

  • Some forms may be completed and submitted by email in preparation before your visit.
  • Access and Use Terms and Conditions Form
  • Copying and Photographing Form
  • Photographing Declaration Form
  • Please carefully consider these forms and the 'Archive Research Room Rules' document before your planned visit. Links to them are available below (and on the 'Rules & Policies' page of this guide).

Getting to Bournemouth University Talbot Campus:

  • Directions - advice on getting to BU by rail, bus, car etc.
  • Talbot Campus map (and refer to image below showing section of Talbot Campus)
  • Car parking on campus is limited. If you will be driving then we may try and reserve a free parking space for you in our 'Visitor and Events' car park, but you must request this at least 48 hours in advance of your visit. Otherwise, it’ll be paid parking in the ‘Visitor and Events Car Park’ (marked on the Talbot Campus map, linked above).
  • BU's archives and special collections - except most of the IBA Archive that's stored off-site - is located in The Sir Michael Cobham Library (refer to map images below)

Map showing location of Bournemouth University Talbot Campus:

Map showing section of Talbot Campus:


Using your own device(s) during visit:

  • External visitors are not given access to BU computers.
  • Please consider BU Wireless access information in preparation before and during your visit.
  • There are power sockets available in the Archive Research Room.

Can I request access to more archive and special collection materials during my visit?

  • You can request access to up to 8 IBA archive files maximum, in advance. Requesting access to special collections materials depends on how much and what is requested.
  • If you get through researching any IBA archive files pre-prepared for you and you have visit time remaining, you may request to access more materials. However, it may not be possible for Library Staff to provide them as the majority of our archive and special collections are stored off-site. And, depending on the file, Data Protection considerations requires us to check content and potentially implement our redaction process. Therefore we consider requests of this kind on an individual, case by case basis during visit day(s).
  • Provision of extra archives or special collections material for you will depend on staff resource and whether items require extra preparation before they can be released for use by researchers.

Archive Research Room:

  • We currently have a room for visiting researchers to use solo.
  • Please consider our 'Archive Research Room Rules' document (link below).

Where may I access food and beverages during my visit day(s)?

  • Food and drinks are served in the following buildings on Talbot campus:
    • Coffee shop called 'Naked' next door to Talbot Campus Library (connected on the ground floor via another Library entrance and exit) 
    • Poole House ground floor - Students' Union SUBU shop, Atrium and the Students' Union shop
    • Fusion building (centre of Talbot campus)
  • Use the Talbot Campus map to find your way around.

I'd like use of a prayer room during my visit day(s):

  • BU Talbot Campus has a 'Faith and Reflection' space (previously called 'Chaplaincy') located on the first/top floor of the Talbot House building, where you'll find an Islamic prayer room. Alternative options in the 'Faith and Reflection' area- if spaces not already in use - are a small Quiet Room and small Meeting Room.
  • Use the Talbot Campus map to find your way around.

If you use and refer to BU's archive and special collection materials in your research:

  • You must contact and liaise with us if you intend to use any materials as evidence in your research. You'll need to request permission by liaising with BU's Archives and Special Collections Team (
  • You'll need to ensure you're referencing the materials as being from 'Bournemouth University's Archives and Special Collections' and include our URL:
  • We may ask you for some words to help promote our archive and your research; potentially boosting your research impact and citations. We may use those words in BU internal and external communication channels e.g. blogs and social media.

Copying and Photographing

Archive Research Room Rules

Health and Safety Information