Information Services

New College Library Special Collections

New College Library Special Collections include manuscripts and archives, rare books, theses, photographs and objects.

The collections relate to New College, the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh, and the religious life of Scotland and the wider world. A substantial proportion of New College Library’s collections were presented by the Church of Scotland on permanent loan to the University of Edinburgh in 1962. In total we have over 1 km of historic material, available for consultation in the Funk Reading Room at New College Library.

New College Library Project and COVID-19 Service Impact

A major fire prevention project is taking place at New College Library. To facilitate the works, the NCL archives and a selection of the rare book collections are now accessible through the Centre for Research Collections in the Main Library. Some of the rare book collections have gone in to deep storage and will not be available until after 2022 when the project is completed. DiscoverEd has up to date information about the location of NCL rare books.

Please contact the CRC at to arrange an appointment or for any queries relating to the collections.

Digital Images

Though the collections are not currently accessible in person, you can see some of them in our online image bank.


Visitor Information

Students in the New College quadrangle
Information about accessing and ordering special collections material at New College Library.

New College Library Rare Books

New College Library was founded upon donations, including many rare books from libraries, churches and individuals across Europe.

New College Library Archive Collections

Papers of significant individuals or groups connected to New College, the University and the Church of Scotland.

New College Library Objects and Pictures

New College Library holds a collection of objects and pictures relating to New College and the Church of Scotland.

Digitisation & Image Licensing

Digitisation services are delivered by the Digital Imaging Unit based at the Centre for Research Collections in the Main Library. You can find full information about the scanning and photography services, as well as image licensing, on their webpages.

Please get in touch with us directly to request any digitisation works. Digitisation is subject to copyright and data protection legislation.

Teaching & Seminar Facilities

The Senate Room in New College may be booked for teaching with special collections material, providing this is arranged in advance by contacting us. We are happy to provide specialist advice if you would like help selecting material most suited to your course - please email us and we will ask the most relevant member of the curatorial team to get in touch.

If the Senate Room is unavailable, staff may use the seminar rooms at the Centre for Research Collections. Please use the seminar room enquiry form (secured) to check availability and to provide a list of items required.

Enquiries Service

If you are unable to visit New College Library in person, you are welcome to contact us by phone, letter or email. Through our enquiries service we are able to:

  • Search our catalogues, indexes and collections handlists
  • Provide advice from a professional archivist, curator or librarian on potential items of interest, including bibliographical enquiries
  • Provide quotations for digital imaging services
  • Advise on how to get access to our collections material both in our search rooms and remotely
  • Advise on other archive services and libraries holding material elsewhere

This should provide you with an overview of what would be helpful for your research, confirm items are held in our collections and point you to other items that would be of help and interest.  We would then invite you to visit to make use of our search room facilities to view the item.  If this is not possible then we offer a digitisation service.  For a list of services provided and price guidelines please see our digitisation webpages.

Alternatively you may wish to commission a researcher to visit us and conduct research on your behalf.  We don’t recommend any particular service over another but some researchers are listed on

We aim to acknowledge all enquiries within 24 hours of receipt (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm).

We aim to provide a full response to enquiries within 20 working days, depending on the nature of the request.