The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections & Archives 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 and University Archives staff at or Iowa Women’s Archives staff at

Scheduling Timeline

Special Collections & Archives requires at least three to four weeks’ advance notice in order properly prepare for your class visit. Please consult the following bullet list to determine which timeline you will need to follow.

  • A minimum of three weeks’ notice is required for classes where you will be making the material selection yourself. Please note you will also need to have your material requests ready a minimum of two weeks out from your class.
  • A minimum of four weeks’ notice is required for classes where you will need the Special Collections & Archives staff member to make the material selection on your behalf.

Submitting a Class Request Form

  • All instruction requests must go through the Special Collections & Archives 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 you do not hear from us within 2 business days, please send an email at as it is possible your form was not successfully submitted.
  • 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

  • If you are selecting your own materials, requested materials are to be sent to Special Collections & Archives at least three weeks or more prior to your class session. We request that you submit requests either through your Aeon account, OR complete a specifically formatted spreadsheet that will be provided to you by your Special Collections & Archives instructor.
  • The instructor assigned to your session will be able to assist you based on your preferred submission method. For a video guide to Aeon, click here.
  • 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.
  • A courtesy email will be sent to you if you do not submit your materiel requests within 2 weeks prior to your class session. Please note that if we do not receive your requests within 5 days of your class, we will ask to reschedule your session.

During the Class

  • All attendees must follow the handling rules as outlined by our polices or Special Collections & Archives staff leading your class session.
  • Photography is allowed during your class session, unless otherwise noted by your Special Collections & Archives 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 & Archives staff.
  • We do not give stacks tours during instruction sessions.

Student Assignments

  • Your Special Collections & Archives 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 & Archives 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 & Archives 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 & Archives 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.

Reviewed March 2023