Special collections

The Library is home to a number of special collections: rare or unique materials which have been selected for preservation because they are important to researchers, the university or the wider community.

To find out more about the kinds of material we hold, see our cultural and heritage collections pages.

Special collections

The Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature

Named after UQ student JD Fryer, the Library is one of the foremost collections of Australian literature and holds material including the personal papers of David Malouf and Oodgeroo Noonuccal. We also have significant holdings relating to politics, architecture, Indigenous affairs and Queensland history.

Access Fryer Library materials by appointment in the FW Robinson Reading Room.

The University of Queensland Archives

As the repository of the permanent records of UQ from 1909 to the present day, the Archives holds significant collections of minutes, administrative files, photographs and more which are essential materials for anyone researching the history of higher education in Queensland.

Access UQ Archives materials by appointment in the FW Robinson Reading Room.

The Otto Hirschfeld Memorial Collection

Named for doctor and UQ Chancellor Otto Hirschfeld, this collection comprises almost 1000 works on the history of medicine, which supplement the Library's medical teaching collections. The collection is regularly added to with texts old and new.

Access the Otto Hirschfeld Memorial Collection at the Herston Health Sciences Library.

Get hands-on with our special collections

We make it easy to find what you're looking for in our special collections with our dedicated online tools.

Published collections

You can discover all of the Library's published special collections, including rare and old books and journals, on Library Search. This includes books held in the Otto Hirschfeld collection and the Fryer Library.

Unpublished collections

Use the Fryer Library Manuscripts website to search within Fryer Library's unpublished collections of personal papers, records and more.

You can also access Fryer Library Manuscripts from links in Library Search. Check out our blog on how to use Fryer Library Manuscripts to help you find unpublished material.

Digitised collections

Selected digitised materials from the Library's special collections can be found on UQ eSpace.

Special collections cannot be taken out of the Library and sometimes need you to take extra care when using them.

Fryer Library

You can access Fryer Library items in the FW Robinson Reading Room by appointment. Use our online form to book your visit.

Book an appointment

Not a UQ student or staff member? Register for membership before your visit so that we can lend items to you to use in the Reading Room.

Register for membership

UQ Archives

Access to UQ Archives material is by consultation with the Archivist. If your request is approved, you can view the items by appointment in the FW Robinson Reading Room.

You are welcome to copy special collections material in our FW Robinson Reading Room (with some exceptions).

Self-service in the Reading Room

You can copy Fryer Library items that you are using in the Reading Room with our high-quality BookEye scanner or by taking non-flash photographs using your own camera or phone.

Remember that any copies you make need to be within copyright guidelines. When we give you special collections material at the desk, we’ll tell you if you can't copy something. Restrictions on copying could apply because of copyright, donor restrictions or for the preservation of fragile materials. If you need copies of restricted materials, place a request with our copying service (below, on this page) and we may be able to assist you.

For more information on copyright, visit the Australian Copyright Council website, or ask one of our librarians in the Reading Room for help.

Copying unpublished material

You are strongly encouraged to visit the FW Robinson Reading Room to copy unpublished material.

We provide a limited copying service if you are unable to visit in person. Please submit a copy request form. A librarian from the Fryer Library and a Digitisation Team expert will assess the request.

All requests are subject to copyright, donor, or other restrictions. If we are unable to copy material for you, we will explain why.

We aim to process requests in 30 business days. Digitisation costs apply.

Request copies of Fryer material

Copying published material

You are welcome to make copies of published material in the Reading Room, or if you are unable to visit in person, see the options below.

We encourage you to use our special collections in your publications.

Publication permissions

Before you publish using our special collections, please contact us. We may need to help you obtain additional permissions if we don't own the copyright. We also love to find out what researchers are doing with our materials!

Request publication permission


There are specific ways to reference special collections material in publications or essays.

Discover something special

Our Librarians can run sessions with classes at undergraduate and postgraduate level in a variety of subjects.
The Library offers annual fellowships and awards to support scholarship using our special collections.
See our online exhibitions and publications for stories from the Library's amazing collections.

Support us

The Fryer Memorial Library of Australia Literature was founded in 1927 thanks to a donation of £10 from The University of Queensland Dramatic Society, in memory of former vice-president, John Denis Fryer.

For over 90 years, it has been our mission to curate and share a rich store of unique cultural material for all Queenslanders. Donors like you help us keep this mission alive.

Find out the impact your gifts can have on the UQ Giving website.

Become a Friend of the Library to show your support and receive updates and invitations to special collections events.

Give to Fryer Library Offer material to Fryer Library

We are grateful for the support of our generous donors.