Do I need an appointment to visit Special Collections and Archives?
No. Materials in Special Collections and Archives are available to the public during the hours we are open. If you are considering a visit, or have a specific question, please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
What are the rules and regulations for using Special Collections and Archives?
Because our holdings contain rare and valuable materials, the following guidelines must be followed to access the collections:
Please register at the front desk upon arrival. You must fill out an Application for Research (PDF).
Please do not bring food or drink into the reading room.
Please use pencils only, as pens, markers, and highlighters might damage materials.
Lockers are available for your personal belongings. Purses, briefcases, backpacks, laptop cases, and other large materials are not permitted in the reading room.
Please see our Rules for Use of Materials.
Can I borrow material from Special Collections and Archives?
We encourage researchers to use our materials, but we also must preserve them for future scholars as well. Therefore, materials in Special Collections and Archives are not available for borrowing. Materials in the collections may be used in the reading room of Special Collections and Archives during our open hours.
What is the locker policy?
After you sign in at the reading room, you will need to check all of your belongings into an available locker. We have lockers with locks available near the reading room on the fourth floor. You may keep loose paper, pencils, laptop computers, and research notes with you. Please be advised that for security of our collections, any material brought into the reading room is subject to search prior to leaving the Archives reading room.
How can I get a copy of a photograph from Special Collections and Archives?
Can I use my digital camera or scanner in Special Collections and Archives?
At the present time, researchers are not permitted to use scanners in the reading room for protection of the materials. However, digital cameras are allowed for reference purposes only. Patrons must sign and follow the Camera Use Policy Agreement (PDF) each visit.
Can I use my laptop computer in Special Collections and Archives?
Yes, the use of laptop computers is allowed in the reading room, and electrical power outlets are available. However, laptop cases, backpacks, and briefcases must be placed in a locker, as they are not permitted in the reading room.
Can I make photocopies of materials from Special Collections and Archives?
Most materials in the collections may be photocopied, subject to size, condition, and copyright restrictions. There is a self-service copy machine available in the reading room. Please check with the reading room desk staff if you have any questions concerning making photocopies of materials.
Can I use my cell phone in Special Collections and Archives?
To help maintain a quiet atmosphere for research and study, we ask that cell phones be put on vibrate or turned off completely. If cell phones must be used, there is a Dunbar Library Cell Phone Zone available just outside the reading room.
Will Special Collections and Archives do research for me?
Special Collections and Archives provides basic reference service via email, telephone, and mail, in addition to assistance to patrons in the reading room. We encourage researchers to use our finding aids, catalogs, and digital images online to help focus the research request. Please refer to our research guidelines and fees.
What exhibits do you have on display?
Exhibits utilizing materials from Special Collections and Archives are installed on a rotating basis throughout the Dunbar Library multiple times per year. Exhibitions are open to the public during the Libraries' regular hours. News and information about our exhibits can be found on our Out of the Box blog. Additionally, Special Collections and Archives maintains online exhibits as well.
How do you decide what Collections you take?
Special Collections & Archives has a Collection Policy which defines what subjects we are documenting. If a collection falls outside of our Collection Policy, we make every effort to suggest appropriate institutions who may accept the donation. For information on how a collection is arranged and described once it arrives in the archives, please see our Processing Manual. The manual walks through the steps of processing from deciding an arrangement to writing the finding aid. As with most archives, there is often a delay between when material is donated and when it is available to the public for research to allow for processing and organizing of the materials. To inquire about our currently unprocessed materials, please feel free to contact us.