Our substantial rare book and special collections in Jubilee and Hove Library extend to over 50,000 volumes with items ranging in date from 13th century through to 20th century. Many of these rare books and manuscripts have been acquired by donation since the libraries were first established, Brighton opening to the public in 1873 and Hove in 1908.
We encourage easy and free access to our collections and will soon be launching our online rare books catalogue. We also offer regular talks, events and exhibitions throughout the year aimed at all ages from school children and education professionals to community groups and researchers. Search What’s On for current listings.
Our special collections span more than seven centuries and include
- early printed books
- illuminated manuscripts
- splendid examples of fine bindings
- private press publications
- first and Limited editions
- early children’s books
- works with beautiful coloured illustrations, woodcuts and engravings
covering subjects from history, literature, and the arts to philosophy, natural history, and theology.
Download a printable guide to the Rare Books and Special Collections
Rare Books and Special Collections Guide [MS Word 1.03MB]
How can I access and consult the Rare Books?
Collections are kept at Jubilee Library, Hove Library and Brighton History Centre all with dedicated Reading Rooms. Anyone can access the online Catalogue of Rare Books for Jubilee Library.
To view the books simply join our free rare books membership scheme. This scheme helps to protect the books and maintains their security.
To join you need
- two passport size photographs
- documentary proof of address dated to within six months
- proof of signature
Join at any of the three libraries above or send your application to our Rare Books Manager at Jubilee Library. We will then contact you to let you know when your membership card is ready for collection.
Contact us to enquire about
- rare books membership
- our rare books research services
- reproduction services and sale of prints
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