Bring a Class to Special Collections

The University of Iowa Special Collections welcomes users of all kinds to explore our collections of rare books, manuscripts, university archives, and other unique collecting areas by utilizing our patron services. Whether it be bringing your undergraduate, graduate, K-12, or community class to experience primary resources firsthand, our department is committed in making our collections accessible to the public.

To request a class, please fill out this form.

Before bringing a class to the department, please take time to read the below policies and procedures regarding instruction. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Special Collections staff at

Requesting a Class

  • All instruction requests must go through the Special Collections Services form.
  • All instructors will need to create a patron account in Aeon in order to bring a class. A patron account in Aeon can be made here.
  • We will do our best to respond to your request within 48 hours/2 business days depending on the nature of your class request and the availability of staff.
  • If our class spaces are fully booked, or there is no qualified instructor available for the requested week, we may ask you to select a different week to schedule your class.
  • Booking times are made on a first come/first served basis. However, classrooms are selected based on the nature of the class, such as how many materials are in use, how many individuals can fit in the room, etc. Your class location may be moved to a different location than what was originally agreed upon, however you will be given advanced notice of any location change.

Preparing for Your Class

  • Material requests are to be placed through your Aeon account. The instructor assigned to your session will be in contact with you about how to make Aeon requests. For a video guide to Aeon, click here.
  • Requested materials are to be sent to the Special Collections at least two weeks or more prior to your class session. If material lists are not sent in a timely manner, you may not receive every item on your list.
  • No additional requests for materials are to be made immediately prior to or during class as this complicates our preparation workflow.
  • We do not allow unprocessed items to be used (exceptions must go through the material’s curator for approval), and we may ask you to substitute digitized items for originals.

During the Class

  • All attendees must follow the handling rules as outlined by our polices or Special Collections staff and students leading your class session.
  • Photography is allowed during your class session, unless otherwise noted by your Special Collections representative. Please do not use flash.
  • We reserve the right to allow librarians-in-training or other observers to attend.
  • Certain items may only be handled by Special Collections staff.
  • We do not give stacks tours during instruction sessions.

Student Assignments

  • Your Special Collections representative is happy to work with you on creating worksheets or activities for your class session.
  • To conform with our Reading Room policies, no outside paper will be allowed in the class space, unless printed on blue paper. Special Collections may print out materials for visiting instructors on blue paper with advance notice.
  • In most cases, we do not place materials on course reserve, but rather encourage students to request materials to be placed on hold for them as individuals. Special Collections staff are happy to work with instructors on a case-by-case basis to ensure that their after-class needs are met to the best of our ability.

After the Class

  • Following your session, a Special Collections staff member will reach out to you with a follow-up survey concerning your class visit. Our department values your feedback, and your time to fill out this survey is greatly appreciated.

Updated 03/19