Visiting Special Collections


Special Collections provides controlled access to its holdings, balancing research, teaching and learning needs with the obligation to preserve materials for future use. While the materials are non-circulating, patrons are welcome to view them in our reading room. We strongly encourage making appointments well in advance to ensure that items are paged and available upon your arrival. Special Collections staff are available for research consultations, both in person and virtually. 

To request items, ask questions and schedule appointments, contact us at

About Your Visit

We welcome your visit and ask all patrons to abide by our policies and procedures meant to preserve the unique materials in the collection. 

  • Upon arrival, leave your bags and coats in the reception area. Lockers are available for this purpose. Gum, candy, food and beverages are not allowed in Special Collections. You may bring pencils, paper/notebook, laptops without the case, and phones (on silent) into the reading room.
  • Fill out a registration form that helps us keep track of the uses of our collections.
  • Make sure that your hands are clean before handling material.  Cotton gloves are only required in certain circumstances, especially when handling photographs.
  • Use care in handling all items. Keep all documents in folders in their original order and pull only one folder at a time from a box.
  • Use book supports when furnished.
  • Materials should not be written upon, marked or altered in any way.
  • Some fragile items have access restrictions or will require staff assistance. Some items may have access restrictions due to donor requests or because the material is not yet processed.
  • Equipment is available to view or listen to microfilm, DVDs, CDs, LP records and audio and video cassettes.
  • All photocopying and scanning is carried out by staff after the requisite forms have been completed (see Policies and Forms), and may take several days. Fees may apply. There are no self-service copiers/scanners for patron use.
  • A limited amount of digital photography is allowable (without flash) after completing the appropriate permission form.
  • Special Collections staff reserve the right to inspect all papers, notebooks and other personal items brought into the reading room before leaving the premises.

Instruction & Class Visits

Special Collections and University Archives welcomes and encourages instructors and their students and classes to use our rich collections. We can provide in-person and online instruction and orientation in a range of disciplines and subjects, including general information about how to locate and use special collection materials for research purposes and class presentations on selected materials pertaining to specific collections, subjects, historic periods or genres. To discuss a possible class session, please send an email to, or submit your request here.  

We ask that requests be made at least three weeks in advance to allow time to prepare instructional materials.


Special Collections offers rotating exhibits throughout the year in its public spaces. The Link Collections Exhibit Wall at the entrance of the department is a permanent display of actual items from the collections associated with the inventor Edwin A. Link together with an interactive touch screen. Information about exhibits and events can be found on our blog and social media accounts, and the University Libraries’ exhibits page.