Rare books and special collections

Our substantial rare book and special collections in Jubilee and Hove Library extend to over 50,000 volumes. We have items from the 13th Century through to the 20th Century. Many of these rare books and manuscripts have been donated to our libraries over time. Brighton library first opened to the public in 1873 and Hove in 1908.

We encourage free access to our collections through our online rare books catalogue.

What's in our special collections?

An image from one of our rare books

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
  • For more information search the online rare books catalogue.

Accessing and consulting the rare books

Collections are kept at Jubilee Library, Hove Library and The Keep all with dedicated reading rooms.

To view items from this collection please take the details, including the call number, from our on-line catalogue and email them to libraries@brighton-hove.gov.uk 
An appointment can then be made for you to view the item.