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Robert Sainsbury Library

  •            Overview           
  •         Using The Library        
  •         Opening Hours        
  •           Contact           
  •         Online Resources        

The Robert Sainsbury Library supports the research and teaching needs of the Sainsbury Research Unit (SRU) and the University.  Also referred to as the SRU Library, it is a specialised library in the indigenous arts and material culture of Africa, the Pacific Region and the Americas.  It includes some material on related areas, e.g. South East Asia (particularly Indonesia), and related subjects, including anthropology, archaeology, religion, and museum studies.  It  holds ca 22,000 volumes, AV collections and a range of journals which complement those held in the UEA Library (the Main Library).

It is located within the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA), on the UEA campus, adjacent to the main gallery or ‘living area’.  Works relating to the objects in the gallery collections are also held.

In addition to borrowing rights for all UEA staff and students, members of the public are welcome to use the Library for reference purposes.

A selection of objects from the Sainsbury Centre Teaching Collection are exhibited in the Robert Sainsbury Library display cabinet.

Although the Library is primarily a research library for the Sainsbury Research Unit, all students and staff registered at UEA may use the facilities and borrow books.  Outside readers are welcome to use the Library for reference purposes.  Staff are available during opening times to assist in locating items or with any enquiry concerning Library resources or subject queries generally.  UEA members should bring their campus card if material is to be borrowed.  Users from outside the University should introduce themselves at the enquiry/issue desk in order to receive information on the Library, but otherwise no formal registration is required.  Users of the Sconul Access scheme should bring both their Sconul card and their home library/campus card.

If you are unable to visit, enquiries can be sent by e-mail, to or telephone or fax the numbers provided on our Library contact page (see 'Contact' tab above).


SRU Library entrance

The Robert Sainsbury Library is housed within the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) to the southwest of the campus (about a five to ten minute walk from the Main Library and Registry building). It is located alongside the main gallery of SCVA, underneath the ‘East’ Mezzanine (the SIfA postgraduate study area). The nearest entrance within the building is through the department of Art History and World Art Studies (the only entrance outside the gallery opening times).

Floorplan showing how to find the SRU Library from the Art History and World Art Studies entrance


Registered UEA users may borrow on the following basis

Research masters, doctoral students and staff

Up to twenty books may be borrowed with three return dates a year.

Taught masters & diploma students

Up to fifteen items may be borrowed for four weeks. 

Undergraduates & SCVA guides

Up to five books may be borrowed for one week.

Additional needs

Users at UEA with additional learning needs can have enhanced borrowing privileges such as extended loan periods and proxy borrowing.  For students, this must be initiated/applied for through the Dean of Students’ Office at UEA.  Users who delegate to a proxy must provide them with a letter of authorisation.

Short loan titles and Reference/special collections/journals

Short loan titles are items on heavy demand because of teaching requirements.  All users are restricted to a return time of 4pm the next day (or over a weekend if taken out on a Friday).

No loans are permitted for reference works, special collections materials and journals.

For all UEA users, items borrowed may be renewed up to three times (short loan titles and requested items excepted).

External users:

Sconul Access

External users with Sconul Access cards may also borrow from the SRU Library (applications must first be authorised by the Main Library at UEA). Up to five books may be borrowed for four weeks (short loan books not borrowable).

Other external users are welcome to work in the SRU Library and use the collections but for reference only purposes.

Library Arrangement/Plan

The majority of stock is held on open access.  Facilities include a photocopier, an IT area with scanners and printers and study spaces where laptops can also be used.  Staff are available throughout opening times at the issue/enquiry desk to assist with any research query, to explain the organisation of the library collections and help find any material not found on the shelves.

Bags are not allowed in the Library.  Lockers are available in the Sainsbury Centre, Library staff can direct users to these. 

Books are arranged on the shelves in classified order, within a geographical sequence subdivided by subject, progressing from general to more specific topics.  Books are also divided into different sequences by size and form, e.g. Oversize or Pamphlet.  These are all clearly marked on the online catalogues.  The classmark (the location label on the book) consists of one or more letters and then by number and - to distinguish between books on the same subject/classmark - by filing suffix (usually the first three letters of the author's surname).  The plan of the Library shows the broad geographical and size sequences.

A number of less used titles, including back runs of ‘dead’ journal titles and print copies of journals available electronically to UEA users are held in the basement store.  These are marked as store items on the catalogue.  There is a staff fetching services for this material, usually delivered within an hour of any request (lunchtime and late nights being an exception).

Photocopying, printing & scanning

The photocopier (b&w only), printers and scanners are not linked to the PrintPlus+ system offered elsewhere on campus to UEA registered users (via credit placed on campus cards). 


A black & white self service photocopier is available alongside the enquiry/issue desk.

A4 single sided 5p
A4 double sided 10p
A3 single sided 10p
A3 double sided 20p

The photocopier is not coin or campus card operated. General users enter a code listed alongside the copier, whilst designated users will be assigned a unique code. On completion, users should count the number of copies made and present them to staff for payment at the enquiry/issue desk.

It is the users responsibility to ensure that copyright regulations are adhered to. Library staff will confiscate any material found to be infringing copyright, but users must pay for all copies regardless. There is an advice sheet alongside the copier or ask for advice on copyright regulations from staff. ISD (Information Services Directorate) at UEA provides useful webpages on copyright.

There is no colour photocopier in the SRU Library, the nearest, publically available, colour copier is in the Main Library.  There is a PrintPlus b&w/colour copier in the Art History and World Art Studies communal area available to its staff and students. 


There are four printers available for public use; two deskjets in the IT Area, one deskjet alongside the quick reference computer in the enquiry/issue desk room and one black & white laserjet alongside the enquiry/issue desk.

A4 black & white single sided 3p
A4 black & white double sided 6p
A4 colour single sided 25p
A4 colour double sided 50p
A3 black & white single sided 10p
A3 black & white double sided 20p
A3 colour single sided 50p
A3 colour double sided £1.00

As there are a number of printing options; always check to see which printer has been selected as the default. Help sheets on the different print options are provided alongside each computer.

Printers are not coin or campus card operated. On completion, users should count the number of copies made and present them to staff for payment at the enquiry/issue desk.  Registered UEA users can send prints to any PrintPlus+ networked machine to collect later.


There are three scanners in the IT Area which can be used to scan text and images into computer files which can be stored in the UEA users central file store or downloaded onto a memory stick or CD.

Help sheets on using the scanners are provided alongside each computer.

There is no charge for use of this facility unless material is then printed in the library.

Templates are available for slide and photographic scanning at the enquiry/issue desk.

SRU Library staff can offer advice and assistance on use of all these facilities.


Library closure

Following government guidelines, the Sainsbury Centre building has been closed to the public until further notice.  As a result, we regret that the Library is also now closed until further notice.  If you have any queries, books that need renewing, or questions about the book returns process below etc. please contact us via our general Library email as these will be picked up regardless of where staff are working:

Returning books during the library closure

All SRU books on loan are being renewed automatically so there is currently no need to return items to the SRU Library. If however, you are a borrower whose account is expiring or you need to return your SRU books for another reason then you may, as a temporary measure, return them to the drop-box outside the main entrance of the Main Library. This is currently being emptied twice a week and so there may be a delay before items are removed from your account.

We would like to stress that your health and safety should always come first in these times, so we ask you only to return items if it is safe for you to do so.

Semester and assessment period hours

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9.30 – 17.00
Tuesday, Thursday 9.30 – 18.00
Saturday, Sunday Closed


Change to late night opening hours

For a trial period from January 2020, the SRU Library late night opening hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings now close at 6pm rather than 7pm.

Vacation hours remain the same.

In order to review this change, we would welcome feedback/comments. Please email your views to:

Vacation opening hours

Vacation opening periods will vary depending on whether Christmas, Easter or the Summer break. Subject to staff availability, access is possible during closed periods. Please telephone or email to arrange (click on 'Contact' button above for details).

Monday - Friday 9.30 – 13.00,14.00 - 17.00
Saturday, Sunday Closed


Robert Sainsbury Library
Sainsbury Research Unit
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom


External 00 44 (0)1603 592659

Fax 00 44 (0)1603 259401

Email Addresses

Library enquiries:

Pat Hewitt, Librarian and Research Services Manager:

Jeremy Bartholomew, Assistant Librarian:

Laura Armstrong, Library Assistant:


Most online resources available to staff and students at the University are hosted through the UEA Main Library, including a number of SRU subscriptions. Subject to the licensing agreement, some of these titles may be available to members of the public.

The Robert Sainsbury Library subscribes to Anthrosource which gives access to online resources of the American Anthropological Association, including current issues of American Anthropologist and American Ethnologist journals.  Although supplied by the Robert Sainsbury Library, campus wide access is allowed for all UEA registered users, but not members of the public. Individual journal titles are also listed as electronic journals through the UEA Main Library.

The Library also maintains a gateway to recommended websites and online resources on the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas and on Archaeology, Anthropology, Museums and Art History more generally. This gateway uses the Diigo online bookmarking system and can be browsed by anyone at the Robert Sainsbury Library Diigo site.

A database of the Library's Audio Visual Collection. The collection contains video and DVD recordings of films and TV programmes related to the subject areas researched by the Unit. It also includes items of a more general art historical and museological interest and the occasional audio recording.

The Sainsbury Research Unit and SCVA hold several collections of objects which can be handled and used for teaching and learning purposes. These are listed in the Teaching Collection database.

In addition, there are a number of SRU in-house databases made available to SRU staff and students through the Robert Sainsbury Library Portal (and other registered UEA users on application)