Higher Education Libraries in your PERsonal history reSearch

About university libraries

Universities maintain libraries primarily for use by their staff and students for research purposes, but most allow members of the general public to join (sometimes for a small fee) & to consult their holdings.

They can seem quite daunting to 'outsiders' (and to insiders a lot of the time), but don't be put off using University Libraries by the apparent differences between them and other public libraries.

The main differences between academic libraries and public libraries are:

Archival holdings

University libraries often also house the institutions' archival material, and archival materials collected by research active members of staff, or archival materials donated by alumni. This means that there may be no particular 'theme' to a university's archival holdings, they are simply what staff and students have donated over the years.


The Helpers system is developed as part of the Accessing our Archival and Manuscript Heritage project, at Senate House Library, University of London, funded by the Laser Foundation and the EARL Consortium. Please see the project website for further details.