J.C. Beaglehole Room

The J.C. Beaglehole Room is the home of the Library's unique and heritage collections, preserved for current and future research.

The Collection

The collections encompass, among other things, rare books, pamphlets, examples of fine printing, binding, and bibliographic ephemera, collections assembled for researching a particular topic, historic photographs and maps, and selected archives of literary figures, labour unions, academics and student bodies associated with the University.

The J.C Beaglehole room is also home to digitised poster collections, including the Dan Long and Therese O'Connell collections. The J.C. Beaglehole room maintains a ‘last-resort’ collection of publications by University students and staff. 

More information about the collections.

About us

The J.C. Beaglehole Room is located on level four of the Kelburn Library, access via the south stairwell and lifts.

The Special Collections Librarian is Sue Hirst. Events and news about the J.C. Beaglehole room can be found on our blog. We regularly hold "3 Books, 3 Scholars" seminars where researchers discuss their use of materials from the Special Collections.


(04) 463 5681

We are trying out a new service model at the J.C. Beaglehole Room (JCBR). The aim of the new service model is to create focussed time for JCBR staff to work on making materials held in the collections more easily findable and usable, while still offering timely assistance for people wanting to use the collections.

From 7 October 2019, the JCBR will be closed to the public on Mondays. JCBR staff will be working with the collections on back-room activities.

On Thursdays and Fridays, the JCBR will be open for business on an on-call basis. People wanting to use materials can either call staff on 022 064 5681, ring the doorbell or complete the online form. (The items you want to use will be gathered and staff will let requesters know when they are ready.)

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the JCBR will be open and staffed from 10.30am to 4.30pm (as is currently the case).

The table below summarises the new service model.

JCBR Hours from October 2019


Closed (you can complete the request form or email to lodge a request)


Open and staffed 10am–4.30pm


Open and staffed 10am–4.30pm


Staff available on-call 10am–4.30pm (phone 022 064 5681 or use the doorbell)


Staff available on-call 10am–4.30pm (phone 022 064 5681 or use the doorbell)

We welcome feedback on this arrangement – you can send feedback to JCBeaglehole-Room@vuw.ac.nz.

Finding and requesting J.C Beaglehole Room resources

Books, pamphlets, and other publications

Almost all published material in the J.C. Beaglehole Room collections is listed in the Library Catalogue.

A small number of publications (generally not related to New Zealand) have not yet been catalogued online and can be explored using the card catalogue in the reading room. The reading room also holds a card index to the early student journal ‘The Spike’.

Archives and Manuscripts

All archives and manuscripts in the J.C. Beaglehole Room’s collection are listed at The Community Archive/National Register of Archives and Manuscripts

For some of these, you can search detailed descriptions and digitised content through the J.C. Beaglehole Room's online finding aids. Additional detailed finding aids are available in paper form in the reading room.

Requesting J.C. Beaglehole Room resources

Most Beaglehole Room material is held in storage for preservation. To access it you should send your request at least a day in advance. 

Request J.C.Beaglehole Room resources

Using J.C. Beaglehole Room resources

Items must be used in the J.C. Beaglehole Room only. To protect the collection, food and drink are not permitted in the reading room, and only soft pencils are to be used for note-taking; ink pens may not be used.

Copying of material held in the J.C. Beaglehole Room is sometimes possible. The Special Collections Librarian will consider the physical condition of the material and any restrictions set out by the donor of the material. Library staff will usually copy the material for you; however, researchers may be permitted to take (non-flash) photographs in some cases. Please enquire with the Special Collections Librarian about any copying you wish to arrange.

Donating to the J.C Beaglehole Room

If you are interested in donating papers, books, or a collection to the J.C. Beaglehole Room, please discuss it with the Special Collections Librarian. Many collections have resulted from the generosity and foresight of academics and alumni.