Using Special Collections & Archives
Special Collections and Archives welcomes in-person, phone, and virtual (e-mail, chat, etc.) requests and visits from researchers.
Our regular hours are listed below, but we recommend visiting the "Library Hours and Building Access" page for the most up-to-date information to account for University closures, holidays, etc.
Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are recommended, as the majority of our manuscript and archival collections are stored off-site.
Reading Room Use
Reading Room Hours
Our Reading Room is open to walk-ins; however, we strongly encourage visitors to make appointments to view collections, as the majority of our materials are stored off-site and sometimes require up to a week to retrieve.
Fall, Winter and Spring, During Academic Quarters
- 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Closed 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Academic Interterms, University Closures, and Summer Quarter
- 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Closed 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Contact the Reading Room
Prior to Using Special Collections & Archives Materials
Researchers must fill out the Researcher Registration Form during their first visit to Special Collections. Signing this form signifies that the researcher has read the "Guide to the Use of University of Denver's Special Collections and Archives," and agrees to abide by its policies.
Researchers will be provided with a secure locker and locks for personal belongings.
Requesting Special Collections & Archives Materials
Unlike most other areas of the University Libraries, individuals can't place requests on Special Collections items in Compass. Special Collections and Archives will work with researchers to request collection materials that are pertinent to the researcher's question.
Requests for onsite materials by walk-in researches will be accommodated as possible dependent on the size and complexity of the request.
Researchers must request off-site materials a minimum of one week (five business days) prior to arrival.
Guide to Using Special Collections & Archives Materials
- Special Collections and Archives collection materials must be used in the reading room and do not circulate.
- Researchers may use paper, note cards, a pencil, a digital camera, and/or a laptop computer without a case. Lockers will be provided for all other personal items.
- Special Collections and Archives reserves the right to deny permission to photograph or copy items as appropriate. Note: Permission to capture images for research purposes does not constitute permission to distribute or publish these images.
- Food and drink (including water bottles, gum, etc.) are not permitted.
- In most cases, researchers may handle collection materials with clean, bare hands. In some cases, researchers will be asked to use cotton gloves. Photographic materials should be handled at the edges only.
- Bound volumes should be supported by a book cradle unless otherwise instructed; no pressure beyond book weights, snakes, or other items provided by Special Collections and Archives may be applied to the bindings, text block, or other material.
- Materials should be returned to the folders and boxes they were removed from in the order they were found. Special Collections staff will provide out cards so that researchers can mark where folders have been removed.
- The reading room is monitored by security cameras at all times, and all materials are inspected by the Reading Room Supervisor or other Special Collections staff prior to re-shelving.
- Only one box or up to ten books per researcher are allowed on the reading room table at a time. If the researcher has a demonstrated need for multiple boxes or more than 10 books, this may be possible but is up to the discretion of the Reading Room Supervisor. If a researcher has requested more boxes or books, these may be placed on a book cart nearby so that the Reading Room Supervisor may promptly provide the researcher with a new box.
- Cell phone use is prohibited in the reading room, and all phones should be set to silent. If you need to make a phone call you can do so in the main floor cafe area.
Reproduction of Special Collections & Archives Materials
Researchers are permitted to use a digital camera or other image/video capture devices, without flash, for research purposes at no additional charge. Special Collections and Archives reserves the right to deny permission to photograph or copy items as appropriate due to preservation concerns. Permission to capture images for research purposes does not constitute permission to distribute or publish these images.
Researchers may make photocopies or low-resolution scans from Special Collections reference books. Special Collections staff will make photocopies or low-resolution scans of special collections materials on request. Requests of 10 pages or fewer can generally be completed in one day; larger orders will generally be ready within 48 hours. Low-resolution scans can be emailed on request.
High-resolution digital scans of documents and photographs are available on request, but may not be possible due to preservation concerns.