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Special collections at the library

A special collection is a group of items which is different in some way from standard library items. It can be a group of books, digital materials or something else.

We've a range of special collections in Rochdale borough. Most of the items in our special collections can be browsed and reserved on our library catalogue and can be collected at any library in the borough. However, items in some collections can't be reserved. Please see sections below for special instructions.

Search for special collections on the library catalogue

What special collections do we have?

Maskew Collection: the Maskew Collection is a unique collection of classic literature and philosophy resources available at Rochdale Central Library.

It's named after Mrs Annie Maskew and Mr Frank Maskew who first met in our old Rochdale Library in the 1950s. When Annie passed away in 2006, she left us a bequest to purchase literature and philosophy resources to inspire future generations in the joy of reading and thinking.

Large print book collection: large print books are available in all our libraries. The collections include fiction by most popular authors and a range of non-fiction titles.

Audiobook collection including eAudiobooks: the largest collection of most recent audiobook titles is held at Rochdale Central Library, with smaller selections at libraries across the borough. Find out about audiobook charges

You can also download eAudiobooks free of charge with BorrowBox. There are hundreds of eAudiobook titles available to download to devices such as MP3 players, iPads and iPhones. Find out how to download BorrowBox on your phone or tablet

BBC micro:bits: thanks to the Micro:Bit Foundation, you can now borrow micro:bits from Castleton, Littleborough, Middleton, Norden and Rochdale Central libraries for up to 3 weeks. You can use the library catalogue to borrow and reserve a micro:bit which you can then collect and return to any library in the borough.

The BBC micro:bit is a mini computer you can code, customise and control to bring your digital ideas, games and apps to life.

If you're a library member, you can borrow a micro:bit starter kit which contains one of ALL of the following:

  • BBC micro:bit
  • Battery pack with batteries
  • Small usb cable
  • Safety leaflet and how to guide

You need to be at least 14 years old to borrow a starter kit. If you're under 14, you can ask an adult to borrow one on your behalf. 

If your borrowed micro:bit is damaged or malfunctioning, please return it to your nearest library so we can replace it for you.

Children aged 8-12 can get inspiration for their micro:bits at one of our Code Clubs:

Urdu collection: this is held at Rochdale Central Library. Urdu fiction and non-fiction books are available for adults and children. Most of the Urdu fiction is by Urdu authors but there are also popular western titles translated into Urdu. We also have a selection of digests.

Local Studies Collection: we've collections of local area materials, such as reference books, pamphlets, maps, photographs, census returns, parish records, trade directories and newspapers. 

You can visit:

  • Heywood Library for items relating to the Heywood area.
  • Middleton Library for items relating to the Middleton area.
  • Rochdale Local Studies Library - Touchstones for items relating to the wider Rochdale area, including Castleton, Littleborough, Milnrow, Wardle and Norden.

Most of the items in the Local Studies Collection are listed on our catalogue but aren't available to reserve or borrow. You'll need to go to the library to view the collection in person.

Reminiscence pack collection: a wide range of reminiscence packs are available from Rochdale Local Studies Library - Touchstones. They cover topics such as schooldays, make do and mend, swinging sixties, during the war and transport.

The packs consists of different materials, such as photos, documents, objects and books. They're mainly loaned to nursing and residential homes for group activity sessions. They're also available for any Rochdale borough library member to borrow.

The packs are listed on our catalogue but can't be reserved online. If you'd like to borrow a pack, you'll need to collect and return it from Rochdale Local Studies Library - Touchstones. For more information and a full list of packs, please contact Rochdale Local Studies Library by emailing or by calling 01706 924915. 

Jigsaw puzzle collection: small selections of jigsaw puzzles are available to browse at Alkrington, Balderstone, Junction, Heywood, Langley, Littleborough, Smallbridge and Spotland libraries. They're FREE to borrow on an adult library card and can be reserved and sent to any library in the borough for collection.

Toy library: Littleborough Library houses a wide collection of toys suitable for babies and young children which have been funded by Littleborough Families Association. Any library member may borrow one toy at a time for FREE. Families from across Rochdale borough are welcome to use the toy library. However, toys can't be reserved on the library catalogue or sent to other libraries for collection.

Vocal score collection: we've a collection of vocal scores for use by choral societies. There is no charge to borrow sets which are in stock. You can browse the catalogue for vocal scores. However, if you wish to borrow sets in stock or can't find what you're looking for, please get in touch by emailing or by calling 01706 924971.


0300 303 8876

Phone: Monday–Friday 9am–5pm.

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So, if you can't find it with us, take a look at the services on offer at a different library.

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