Guidelines for teachers about sources at SC/UA

To use the limited time students have available during a class visit most productively and optimize space and staff time available at Special Collections and University Archives (SC/UA) we have the following guidelines in place.


Preparing students for a visit to Special Collections and University Archives (SC/UA)

Using archives and special collections

We strongly believe in the importance of teaching young people how to research primary sources and letting them experience the thrill of handling historical materials. In order for students to have realistic expectations, however, they should understand the following:

  • Although printed materials may be found in various libraries, manuscript and archival materials are unique. Therefore, students usually are not likely to find materials about the topic of their first choice in our collections (What are archives and special collections?)
  • Archival research is time consuming, and students may have to return for a follow-up visit
  • Early materials are often hand-written and difficult to read

We recommend that students and teachers familiarize themselves with our holdings before students definitely settle on a topic, in order to determine ahead of time if they want to use resources at SC/UA, or research online resources in the Alexander Library computer lab only. (What materials do you have?)

Request materials five business days in advance

We will need to know five days in advance what materials your students want to view at SC/UA, so that we can have them ready when they visit (some materials are stored off-site). Please email us the following information for each student (download the form in Word format to facilitate the process). Please note that students may not request books from the stacks of Alexander Library.

For printed materials

For archives and manuscripts
  • title of the collection
  • call number of the collection
  • box number (to be found in the finding aid)

What students should bring during a visit to the reading room

  • Camera or phone to make photographs of the materials, or a school iPad that allows students to send pictures to their email address
  • Pencil and note paper (pens are not allowed)

Rules for students using sources at SC/UA

  • Students should abide by the rules for the use of materials in the reading room.
  • Our reading room only allows for a maximum of eight students visiting at a time. If more students wish to use our resources, groups should alternate.
  • Students can use one archival box at a time. When students work in teams, they can each have one box.
  • Students should use hushed voices only, in order not to disturb other researchers in the reading room.
  • At least one adult should accompany the group.

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