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Special Collections and Archives


St Peters House Special Collection

St Peters House Library Special Collection is located on the ground floor behind the help desk. It contains many items including; limited edition illustrated books, Artists’ books, handmade items, books on dress history, design exhibitions, historical pamphlets and ephemera. Some of them are very rare and valuable.

All items can be consulted for reference purposes during the help desk during opening hours.

The collection can be searched online using the library catalogue. To search just for material held in the Special Collection use the search loantype:"spec coll" and add your keywords at the end.  For example: loantype:"spec coll" Alice in Wonderland will return the copies of the book Alice in Wonderland that are part of the Special Collection.

St Peters House Library also has a large microform collection containing a wide range of historic material including lots of Underground and alternative press items.  Material can be viewed, and print or electronic copies made using the digital microform reader/scanner. For a full list of the collection content see here.

Examples of zines from our collection

Artists' Books

An Artists' book is a form of expression conceived by artists using the function or the format of a book as inspiration. There may be a handmade element, sometimes the book is a one off unique shaped object (a rubber duck for example), or just a regular shaped printed format that we are all familiar with. In many instances though they are produced in small print runs and often self-published. We have a good selection of Artists' books in the collection at St Peters House Library that you can come and look at.

For extensive research the National Art Library at the V&A hold a very large collection of Artists' books at their site in London.


Examples of Artists' books from our collection

Resource lists

Artists' books in the collection logo
Zines in the collection logo

Examples of how the Special Collection has inspired learners

  • Zine making sessions in the studio (Graphic Design students)
  • Exhibitions curated at Pavilion Parade and St Peters House Library (History of Art & Design students exhibitions module)
  • Development of a touch and explore Artists' book for people with dementia (Inclusive Arts Practice student)
  • Researching the history of women's fashion (History of Art & Design 'Dress history' students)
  • Team building exercises: Making Artists' books and zines (Library staff)