Shakespeare Institute Library


Please note

Open for click and collect (see below). Limited pre-booked study spaces available.

See opening hours for details.



Shakespeare Institute Library
Shakespeare Institute
Church Street
CV37 6HP

Tel: 0121 414 9525  


See our opening hours.

Click and collect service - Shakespeare Institute staff and students only

Students and staff from the Shakespeare Institute will have the facility to borrow up to five reference-only books for 48 hours, as well as loanable books for the usual time.

All books on the open library shelves are included in this service but we may have to refuse anything which is in a fragile condition. Theses, dissertations, anything marked r on FindIt, anything published before 1900 and archive materials are excluded from the service. You may have any number of books from the Long Loan section in addition to 5 from the reference-only section, up to your loan allowance.

Requests should be emailed to Please use the subject line ‘[Your surname] C+C request’ e.g. ‘Smith C+C request’. List your items with the shelfmark first, Author, Title, barcode and any other essential information, e.g. editor’s name for a play text.

Requests received before 15:00 will be available for collection after 10:00 the following working day. Please give a date and time when you want to collect the books. They will be in the Library entrance at that time. Please wear a mask unless exempted from doing so. 

You may also request books from the Main Library. Either send your request via FindIt or email with subject line [Your surname] ISL request' as above. These will take longer before they are available for collection.

Please note that all Library items will have been quarantined for at least 72 hours since being handled and the books and bags will not have been touched except by staff wearing gloves and masks.

Books must be returned to the Library 48 hours after you collect them, or on Monday for items taken on a Friday. Please leave the bag of books in the entrance to the Library and ring the bell to alert staff. 

Please wait outside if someone is already in the entrance.

If you would like to renew a loan please email the Library and if no-one else has requested the item it will be renewed for a further 48 hours. Please make sure you are able to return all items within the 48 hours.

Please do not request loans if you or someone in your household has Covid-like symptoms. If you or someone in your household develops symptoms while you have loans, please do not return them to the Library but email to let us know.

Hygiene measures

The Shakespeare Institute Library will have enhanced hygiene measures in place to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. These include:

  • Enhanced cleaning schedules
  • 72 hours quarantining of collection materials and book supports/weights
  • Social distancing signage throughout the building
  • Additional regulations for users in the SIL reading areas, including hand hygiene
  • Hand sanitiser stations in addition to hand washing facilities

Staff and students will be required to wear their own face covering during their visit. If you have any specific questions, please ask these at the time of making your request for access.

Non-University of Birmingham researchers and external library members

At present we are unable to provide access to any researchers who are not current students or staff at the University of Birmingham. Our phased reopening plans are heavily focused on public health guidance and significantly reduced capacity in our Reading Room. As such, we are providing controlled access for our own staff and students.

We will regularly review our service offer and we will endeavour to provide access to non-UoB researchers as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.

Whilst we are unable to offer physical appointments for non-UoB researchers, we are happy to provide the following:

Access to the Shakespeare Institute Library (from 8 March)

We will have significantly reduced capacity due to social distancing measures. All access, for UoB staff and students, will be by appointment only:

  • Requests should be made to: or by booking a study space online.
  • Appointments will be subject to availability of spaces in the SIL Reading Areas
  • Your appointment will be for one person only. You must not bring anyone else with you
  • All researchers must read, and agree to, our Coronavirus Researcher Charter
  • Same day requests will not be possible
  • Please let us know if you have any additional access requirements
  • Opening hours will be 10:00 – 16:00 Monday to Friday
  • Researchers will be given a staggered arrival time and departure time
  • Priority will be given to time-limited research access requirements. If your needs are not urgent please consider waiting until a later date to make a request
  • On the day of your appointment please wait at the entrance to the SIL. A member of staff will meet you at your designated arrival time. If you cannot make your agreed time, please let us know as soon as possible
  • Shelf browsing will be permitted but students and staff will be expected to maintain social distancing and wear masks when moving about the building


The toilet will be available as usual, with additional hygiene measures in place.

However, some facilities will not be available in order to reduce the risk of transmission. These include material in the Audio-Visual Room:

  • Microforms: access to microfilm/fiche/card surrogates will not be possible. Researchers will be advised of alternatives, such as online content.
  • DVD/VHS facilities: there will be no facilities for viewing AV material, but DVDs can be borrowed.


If you would like to discuss options for delivering virtual teaching with our collections during the 2020-2021 academic year, please email us at




About the library

The Shakespeare Institute Library is a major UK resource for the study of English Renaissance literature. 


Study spaces 

The library has study desks on the ground and first floors, with additional lighting and sockets for laptop use. 


There is a computer cluster on the ground floor of the library, with access to subscribed e-resources, the library catalogue, the internet and Microsoft Office packages. You will need your Active Directory username and password to log in. Visitors can sign up for temporary access.


Wireless access is available throughout the library and the Shakespeare Institute premises.

Photocopying and printing 

The Shakespeare Institute Library has a Multifunctional Device (MFD) that operates under the University's managed print system. It can be used to print, photocopy and scan to University email addresses. See our main printing, photocopying and scanning page for more information.


A networked pc in the ground floor cluster is connected to a scanner, and is equipped with scanning software.

Assistive software 

One of the computers in the ground floor cluster has assistive technology to aid computer usage for the partially sighted.

Audio visual room 

On the ground floor of the library the audio visual room has multi-region DVD/video players, microfilm/fiche with printing and scanning facilities, a microcard reader, and audio equipment.


Touchstone contains information on performances of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the UK. You will also find links to other Shakespeare Libraries in the West Midlands: 


The Library serves the teaching and research of the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon, and provides a resource for undergraduate and research students from the Birmingham campus. It has an international reputation and is used by Shakespeare academics and scholars from around the world as well as readers with a general interest in the subject. 

Please note that the majority of the book stock cannot be borrowed. This ensures that all items are available to library users unless actively being used by another reader on the premises. A small Long Loan collection serves the MA courses run by the Shakespeare Institute. The book collections are searchable by the University of Birmingham online catalogue.

The Rare Book and Archive Collections of the Shakespeare Institute Library have been temporarily re-housed in the Special Collections Department due to a malfunction in the storage area in which they were held. These materials are available for consultation in Special Collections. 

Contact the department in advance to request anything required: / Tel: 0121 414 5839.

Disability support

All libraries and resource centres offer the following services:

N.B.These services are available in the Shakespeare Institute Library at all times when the library is open.

Facilities and access  

  • Accessible toilets
  • Quiet/silent study area
  • Wheelchair Access

Specialist equipment

This site has the following equipment available:

  • Bar magnifier
  • Cassette player
  • Hand-held portable video magnifier (CCTV)
  • Literacy software (Text HELP Read & Write)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Magnifying sheet
  • Screen magnification software (ZoomText)
  • Screen-reader software (Jaws)
  • Speaking text-scanning software (Kurzweil 1000)
  • Text scanning

Additional information


Professional Services