Treasures from special collections

Tuesday 25 September 2007

The 'St Andrews Psalter' is one of many manuscripts cared for by the University Library's Special Collections Department. Credit Peter Adamson.The University of St Andrews Library is hosting an exhibition featuring some of the earliest treasures from its Special Collections.

The Special Collections Department is home to the Library’s manuscripts and rare printed books, as well as its extensive photographic collections and the University muniments or institutional archive.

The items on display on level two of the Library include some of the earliest and most significant material held within the collections. There are wonderful examples of printing, beautifully illustrated pages in both manuscript, print and facsimile and copies of items too large or fragile to include in their original form.  Amongst the exhibits are a greek papyrus from the 2nd century AD, the oldest printed book in the Library and an illuminated manuscript. There are also some of the exciting new accessions recently acquired by the Library.

The department plays a vital role in the Library’s support for teaching and research within the University. It is also an important centre for historical studies in the wider academic community and a public resource centre. It likes to encourage access to the collections and enables users to have a `hands-on¿ experience of working with original sources.  However, such access has to be balanced by the demands of preservation: the custodial duty of care of the physical form of fragile and vulnerable material. Therefore it is sometimes preferable to provide access to a surrogate form instead of the original item.

The exhibition is free and can be visited on level two whenever the Library is open. It will run until 19 December 2007.


Issued by Press Office, University of St Andrews


Claire Grainger, Press Officer – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email [email protected]

Gayle Cook, Press Officer – 01334 462529, 07900 050 103 or email [email protected]

Ref: speccollsep07

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