Whilst Government requirements are changing from the 19th July, we want to maintain the lowest level of risk possible. To do this, in line with our parent organisation the University of Reading, we will be keeping our current safety measures in place for the coming weeks.

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

Only visit if we have sent a confirmation email.

Bookings are subject to short notice cancellations should there be any local 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 are 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, 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.


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.