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Special Collections and Archives

A guide to the Special Collections and Archives located in Coates Library.

Preparing for a Class Session in Special Collections & Archives

This guide will provide information to help you prepare for a class session in Special Collections & Archives at Coates Library. 

Jump to: 
Where is Special Collections & Archives? 
What do I need to know before my class? 
What should I bring (and not bring!) to class? 
Students with disabilities

Where is Special Collections & Archives?

Special Collections and Archives is located on the second floor of Coates Library.

The main entrance to the library is on the third floor; use either the stairs or elevator to go down one floor to the second.

  1. Coming out of the elevator, turn left, then the reading room will be on your left.
  2. From the stairwell, turn right and the reading room will be straight ahead through the double doors.

Map of the second floor of Coates Library, showing the location of Special Collections

What do I need to know before my class?

Special Collections & Archives is where the library stores materials with special access and preservation requirements. In order to keep these materials safe, there are some guidelines unique to this area of the library: 

  • Coats, backpacks, purses, or any bags must be stored in the coat closet or lobby during your visit. Students may bring laptop computers, tablets, and cellphones into the Reading Room. 
  • Eating, drinking, and chewing gum during class sessions is not permitted. Drinks in closed containers may be left in the lobby area. 
  • Only pencil (no pen) may be used in the Reading Room. We have pencils you can borrow if you do not have one. 
  • To preserve our collections, materials must be handled with care at all times: do not lean on, write on, fold or handle materials in a way that may damage them. Tracing is not permitted.

Restrooms and a water fountain are located around the corner from the reading room (see map above). There is a gender neutral restroom located on the third floor of the library. Feel free to leave class to use these facilities; however, any Special Collections materials must remain in the reading room at all times. 

What should I bring (and not bring!) to class?

Please do not bring: 

  • Any open food or drink. Drinks in closed containers (ie, a sealed water bottle) may be left in the lobby area. 
  • Pens, highlighters, and other permanent writing utensils
  • Items of value that you are not comfortable leaving in the coat closet or lobby area. 

Some things we suggest bringing with you: 

  • Pencil with which to take notes
  • Cellphone to take photographs
  • A sweatshirt, cardigan, or sweater; Special Collections is kept colder than the rest of the library building
  • An inquisitive attitude.

Students with disabilities

If you have a disability and need accommodations for this class session, please contact Colleen Hoelscher (Special Collections Librarian) at, or ask your course instructor to do so. Some examples of accommodations we can provide during Special Collections class sessions include: advance copies of presentations, wheelchair accessible seating, enlargements of manuscripts for the visually impaired, extended time after the end of the class session.


Do you have a question that you don't see answered here? Feel free to email us at with any questions in anticipation of your class session.