We have taken every reasonable step to create a COVID-19 secure building and we rely on the co-operation of visitors to follow the measures we have put in place to protect everyone’s safety. Observe the safety measures that we have put in place.

Please delay your visit if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. The latest NHS guidelines can be found on their website.


Please practice social distancing while in The MERL and University of Reading Special Collections and Art Collections building.

Please wear a face covering during your visit unless you have a legitimate reason not to do so.

All researchers should wash their hands before and after visiting our Art Collection Study Room.  There will also be a hand sanitiser station in the staircase hall outside the Art Collection Study Room and the Special Collections reading room.

We will be cleaning desks at the end of each day.


All appointments to visit the Art Collection Study Room must be booked in advance. Please contact us via email.

Please indicate:

  • the day you wish to visit
  • if you would like to book for all day
  • which items you wish to consult

Material will be quarantined for 72 hours after they have been consulted. This may mean that an artwork is unavailable on the day of your visit. Please let us know a week in advance when you wish to visit so that we can do our best to avoid this.

Only visit if we have sent a confirmation email.

Bookings are subject to short notice cancellations should there be any local lockdown measures implemented. We will contact you if this is the case.


We have reduced capacity in Art Collection Study Room from 7 researcher spaces to 2 to provide 2 metres of social distance between researchers.


There will be no computers available in the Art Collection Study Room to search the online catalogue. The online catalogue is accessible here.


We cannot produce collections on demand during opening hours. We can undertake retrieval of items at lunchtime, but items will not be produced if they have been placed in quarantine after use by staff or other researchers. As such, we recommend that you send a full list of requests at the time of booking.

You can use our online catalogues to gather descriptions and references of items and collections.


Collections staff will be wearing gloves when preparing your material and when collecting it in again. You will be the only person to handle your requested material without PPE.

There will be a hand sanitiser station in the staircase hall outside the Art Collection Study Room and the Special Collections reading room.. Please ensure that your hands are dry before handling collections.


The photocopier will not be available to researchers.

We are unable to fulfil requests for photocopies of material during a visit and instead can be ordered remotely through our copying service .

Digital photography using your own camera/mobile/tablet will still be available.


Our toilet facilities will be open and are located between the building entrance and the Art Collection Study Room.


Lockers will still be available to store items not permitted in the Art Collection Study Room. We will be cleaning lockers at the end of each day.


If you wish to connect to the Wi-Fi during your visit, please let us know when booking and we will provide you with a guest log in prior to your visit.

Eduroam is available in the Art Collection Study Room so if you have access to this you will not require a guest log-in.