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 25,000 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 , on the UEA campus, adjacent to the main gallery or ‘living area’.  Works relating to the objects in the gallery collections are also held.

All UEA staff and students have borrowing rights from the library.  Members of the public are also welcome to use the Library for reference purposes.  

All our library holdings are listed on the same online catalogue as UEA Main Library stock. Registered UEA staff and students can login to the catalogue for the full range of services, and there is also a facility for those outside of the University to use a guest search option. Our items are marked under 'availability' as being held by the 'Sainsbury Research Unit Library' or under 'location' as 'SRU Shelves' or similar.

Please contact the library if you have any enquiries. We have also produced a Brief Library Guide to summarise the information on using the library.

The Robert Sainsbury Library is housed within the Sainsbury Centre 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 the Sainsbury Centre, underneath the ‘East’ Mezzanine (the 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).

Registered UEA users may borrow on the following basis:

Research masters, doctoral students and staff

Up to twenty books may be borrowed for 2 weeks with unlimited auto-renewals

Taught masters & diploma students

Up to fifteen items may be borrowed for 2 weeks with unlimited auto-renewals

Undergraduates and Sainsbury Centre guides

Up to five books may be borrowed for one week with unlimited auto-renewals

Short loan titles and Reference/special collections/journals

Short loan titles are items on heavy demand because of teaching requirements.  All users can borrow short loan items for 3 days (plus over a weekend or other closed day if applicable).

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

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 at one time (short loan books not borrowable).


Automated renewals will jump vacation periods..

Opening hours during Semesters:

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


Opening hours during vacations:

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


The last day of the Semesters/academic year prior to the Summer vacation is Friday 14 June 2024. 

Vacation opening :

Monday 17 June 2024 - Friday 30 August 2024

The SRU Library will be closed on the Bank Holiday, Monday 26 August 2024.


Re-opens on Semester hours, Monday 23 September 2024.

Access is still possible during closed periods subject to staff availability. Please contact SRU Library staff to check on access.

Audio Visual Collection

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.

Object Teaching Collection

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


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.

Whilst the Government has moved to 'Living with Covid-19' measures, all users of the SRU Library (and all services and facilities on campus) should be careful of both their own and others health and safety. The NHS website provides guidance on symptoms and dealing with Covid-19

  • You can contact us on or telephone 01603 592659 if you are worried that books are overdue (books renew automatically, unless requested by another user).
  • Sanitisers and wipes will remain available in the SRU Library.