Materials in Special Collections & University Archives are available for the research needs of students, faculty, and staff of the University, and available to the general public. All materials are housed in a controlled environment and, generally, can be used only in the Special Collections Department Reading Room. We welcome requests from instructors to meet with classes or to help formulate assignments that include use of rare books and manuscripts. These may be most efficiently submitted via our class request form. For all other inquiries use our reference query form or call 335-5921 during our service hours.
Researchers may be required to present proper identification and must abide by Department policies and procedures.
- Researchers may obtain materials by presenting a completed call slip to the librarian at the desk. Registration forms must be completed for the use of manuscript materials.
- Place coats, handbags, briefcases, backpacks, computer bags, envelopes, notebooks, etc.; in the lockers or on coat racks provided. Only pencils, laptop computers, cellphones, and essential reference books are permitted at the research tables.
- Pencils and laptop computers may be used for taking notes. Outside notebooks or loose-leaf paper is not permitted in the reading room. Special paper will be provided for patrons to take notes.
- Readers may also use their personal digital cameras to photograph material they are working with. Consult staff before using cameras, iPads, and recording devices. Photocopies, scans and reproductions of other media may also be requested on-site using our Access & Reproductions form.
- No marks may be added to or erased from materials belonging to the Department, and extreme care should be exercised when handling these items. Do not fold, lean on, place an arm or notepad across them, or otherwise handle materials in any way that may damage them. Specially made cradles are available from staff at the reception desk.
- Eating and drinking are NOT permitted in the Reading Room.
- Theft or mutilation of materials is forbidden by law and is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. Theft and multilation will be prosecuted.
- Consult with the librarian at the desk to return the materials or arrange to leave them on the desk before leaving the Reading Room for any length of time.
- If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask any staff member. The staff is committed to making your visits and the visits of future researchers rewarding.
When using manuscript collections, please note in addition:
- Readers may request more than one box or volume of material at a time, but use may be restricted to one unit at a time. Please remove only one folder at a time from boxes. Please do not remove items from folders.
- Please maintain the exact order and arrangement of documents in a folder. If you discover a filing error, call it to the attention of a staff member. Do not rearrange items yourself.
- With permission, selected materials can be photocopied, scanned, or photographed, and orders for other reproductions placed: consult a staff member regarding procedures before removing any item from a file or box. Specific restrictions may have been placed on some collections, and items that are fragile or could be damaged by copying may be withheld. We ordinarily cannot reproduce entire collections or large portions of them.
- Readers must cite materials they use in publications. Please include the full name of the collection and of the Libraries, for example: Redpath Chautauqua Collection, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa; or President’s Correspondence, The University of Iowa Archives, Iowa City, Iowa.
- We reserve the right to charge use fees. Quoting material in a research paper or thesis generally does not constitute publication; posting material to a web site open to the general public, however, may be regarded by copyright holders as a form of publication.