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 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.

All UEA staff and students have borrowing rights from the library, however during the COVID-19 pandemic, the library is unfortunately closed to members of the public.

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 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 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 & SCVA 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 (Currently suspended)

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).

Summer vacation open hours ( From Mon 2nd August 2021)

From Mon 2nd August until Fri 24th September 2021 the SRU Library will be open by appointment only depending on staff availability. It is anticipated that a member of staff will be available on the majority of days during this period but please email in advance to avoid disappointment.

Opening hours for the Autumn Semester 2021 beginning on Mon 27th September:

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

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 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.


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 Government restrictions due to the Covid pandemic has eased, 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.  Check the UEA ‘Covid-19 Guidance and News’ webpages regularly for more information on keeping safe

We strongly advise users regularly on campus to test at least twice a week using lateral flow test kits ordered online, picked-up from a pharmacy or by using the testing centre available on campus UEA staff and students must notify positive tests on the UEA ‘Covid-19 notification form’ (see UEA’s self-isolation guide for the link)