Reader facilities

Hand washing facilities and toilets

Hand washing facilities are available to readers in the Cadbury Research Library's four toilets. These are located on the lower ground floor of Muirhead Tower. For conservation reasons, please ensure you have clean, dry hands before entering the reading room. The toilets are accessed with a code, please ask the member of staff on reception who will supply the printed code when you arrive. 


Free use of key-operated storage lockers is provided to registered readers for daytime use. Coats, outdoor wear, bags, pens, food, drink and chewing gum are not permitted in the reading room; these items must be stored in the lockers at reception before entering the reading room. Please return your locker key to reception when you depart each day.

Keeping warm in our reading room 

It can feel chilly sitting still in our temperature-controlled reading room, we recommend you bring a jumper or cardigan for your own comfort while working. Outdoor coats may not be worn in the reading room for security reasons.

Handling guidelines and book supports

Guidelines on safe handling practices for Special Collections material are displayed on our study tables. We ask readers to be mindful not to rest laptops, cameras or other devices on Special Collections material. A range of books supports, snake weights and leather-covered weights are available for safe handling of bound volumes and rolled items. Please make use of them to help preserve our collections. Staff on reception will be happy to provide advice on safe handling practices. 

Retrieval service

The Cadbury Research Library is a Special Collections facility, not a lending library, and all the material in our care is supplied for invigilated reference use only in the reading room. Material cannot be taken out of the reading room. When you visit please request the items you wish to consult by completing our retrieval slips. Staff will bring your requested items to you in our reading room.

We retrieve items from our strongrooms throughout the day. Requests are accepted until 16:15 and until 16:30 on our Thursday late opening night. Items are normally retrieved within 20 minutes. We do not retrieve material between 13:00-14:00, however the reading room remains open.

A small number of books are held off-site, this material is retrieved once a day at 11:15.

Pre-order service

If you would like to pre-order items please email us in advance.

Please pre-order if you wish to consult material on Thursday late opening and are arriving after 18:30.

Occasionally items are temporarily unavailable for conservation, digitization or exhibition, please email us if you wish to check availability ahead of your visit.

Free use of digital cameras in the reading room

Readers may use their own hand-held camera to take images for private study only, without charge. Some items though are restricted (copyright etc), so please talk to a member of staff when you visit if you wish to take images. Use of flash, tripods and scanners is not permitted.   

Imaging services

We offer a chargeable imaging service for the creation of reproductions for private study. We can also create higher-specification images of Special Collections material for publication, exhibition, public lectures or any form of sharing. 


Wireless networking is available throughout the Cadbury Research Library. Non-University of Birmingham users should consult the UOBGUEST service.

Power sockets

The study tables in the reading room are fitted with plenty of power sockets for the use of reader's own laptops.

Microfilm and microfiche 

We have microfilm and microfiche readers within the reading room. In the case of high-demand collections readers will be issued with surrogates in the form of microfilm or microfiche copies for preservation purposes. This applies to the Church Missionary Society and Save the Children Fund collections. Researchers may make their own copies of microfilms and microfiche for a charge; or use their own hand-held camera free of charge.

Reading room computers

Readers can access our archive catalogue, library catalogue and eResources using the desktop computers provided in the reading room. Please ask a member of staff if you require assistance navigating our electronic resources.

Light boxes

Light boxes are available to readers who wish to examine watermarks or other details in transmitted light, please speak to staff at reception who will also check the suitability of material.


Food and drink can not be brought into the Cadbury Research Library reading room or seminar room. Food and drink is available in a variety of locations across campus.  


The University offers both hotel and bed & breakfast accommodation each with car parking and under 10 minutes' walk from the Cadbury Research Library.