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Getting involved

Special Collections relies on help from those interested in its works to meet the considerable costs of enriching the collections and preserve them for future users. Such help may be in the form of donated materials, or financial support, or voluntary work.

Donating collections

We welcome new material to enhance our collections.  However, for practical and legal reasons, we have to be selective in what we accept.  If you're thinking about offering archives or books to us, please take a look at our mini guide, which should answer many of your questions.

Guide to donating archives and books to Special Collections (docx, 122 KB)

Guide to donating archives and books to Special Collections (pdf, 84 KB)

Full details about the subjects and formats we collect are in our Collection Development Policy.

Collection Development Policy, Special Collections, June 2013 (docx, 105 KB)

Collection Development Policy, Special Collections, June 2013 (pdf, 256 KB)

If you have archives, printed books, or other material you think might be suitable for Special Collections, please contact the Special Collections Librarian.  Thank you!

Financial support

If you value the Collections and the work we do in caring for them and making them available, you may like to consider making a financial donation or bequest. To discuss how your support can make a difference, please contact the Special Collections Librarian.

The University's Giving to Bradford website contains more detail about the practicalities and the many ways to give. If you donate to Special Collections via the forms on this site, please make sure you mention the Collection and kind of work you would like to support.

Volunteering with Special Collections

Special Collections offers opportunities for University of Bradford students to gain workplace skills and experience.  We are also keen to work with anyone who has expertise or interest in the collections.

We lack space and staff time to offer rewarding experiences to volunteers on the premises.  We therefore concentrate our efforts on supporting the employability of University of Bradford students, usually as part of externally funded projects.  We are also exploring the potential of remote work, crowdsourcing and social media.

Special Collections policy on the use of volunteers (pdf, 87 KB).

Commonweal Library, an independent peace library based within the J.B. Priestley Library, is sometimes able to offer opportunities to those seeking all-round library experience.

Current projects

Putting Flesh on the Bones Project. Student work placements and ad hoc opportunities to assist a Wellcome-funded research project.  Activities include digitisation, packaging and helping with public engagement activities.

Selected past projects

Untangling the Holdens.  A pilot project, using modified crowdsourcing techniques to enrich catalogues for a remarkable collection of 19th century letters, full of rich detail on Bradford, industry, society, religion, politics and much more.

Mitrinovic / New Atlantis Cataloguing Project.  Volunteers transcribed Serbo-Croatian documents and helped our project archivist with cleaning and packaging.