How to handle rolled items

Watch our video on the tools and methods you should use when rolled items.

Rolled items can vary from small items to large rolls with multiple layers. Watch the video to see the tools and techniques you should use to help us keep these items in good condition.

Key points

When handling rolled items, make sure you:

  • pay attention to the format, size and condition of rolled items
  • have enough space to unroll items
  • have weights and other tools to hand.

Ensure there you have enough space to unroll items and use soft weights to hold them open.

Often it is easier to unroll only what you want to see at one time. Watch the video to see the technique for this.

Large items may require a second person to assist you. It's important that you pay attention to the format and condition of an item.

Watch our video

 The video guide above covers the techniques for handling:

  • vertical rolls
  • horizontal scrolls
  • large rolled maps
  • multi-membrane parchment rolls.

Collection guides

The King's Library

The collection of George III includes thousands of books and pamphlets

French Revolutionary Tracts

50,000 books, pamphlets and periodicals printed in France between the 1780s and 1840s

Modern Greek printed collections

One of the world's finest collections of Greek and Cyprus imprints

Portuguese printed collections

Contemporary and antiquarian material, including 225 books published in Portugal before 1601

Italian printed collections

Our Italian collections cover all periods and a wide variety of subjects

Digitised printed books (18th-19th century)

Over 60,000 out-of-copyright digitised books from the 18th and 19th century available for viewing, search, download and digital research.

Thomason Tracts

A key source for the English Civil War in the mid-17th century

Burney collection

Largest single collection of 17th and 18th-century English newspapers available

Scandinavian printed collections

One of the richest collections of books from the Scandinavian countries

Garrick Collection of English Plays

David Garrick's collection of 16th and 17th-century printed plays

Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin collection of books

Russian avant-garde collections

An extensive collection of avant-garde books of the early 20th century

Spanish printed collections

Includes 16,600 Spanish books published before 1801

French printed collections

Incunabula, books, journals, maps and music

Dutch printed collections

Publications covering a wide range of subjects and periods from the Dutch-speaking territories