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Introduction to Special Collections: Using Materials

Visiting Special Collections

I found a book/manuscript that I want to see. How do I find it?

When you arrive in Special Collections you will be greeted by a staff member who will assit you. At your first visit you will be asked to fill out a brief reader registration form. Every time you visit you will be asked to present a photo ID.

Bring the bibliographic information of the material you would like to see, which is either the Call Number of the print item or the Manuscript Collection Number and the specific Box or File Number. These are the two key pieces of information that the repository must have in order to retrieve things for you.

The Special Collections staff will assist you in filling out a call slip for the requested material and then WE bring the material to you!

Special Collections materials do not circulate and must be used within our reading room; please allow yourself ample time to conduct your research.

Do I need an appointment to visit? 

You do not need an appointment to visit Special Collections. If you have any questions please contact a Special Collections librarian.

What are Special Collections' hours?

The Special Collections Department is open Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. Hours are adjusted around the University of Delaware academic calendar and University holidays, so please confirm the University of Delaware library hours before traveling to visit the library.

Where is Special Collections located?

The Special Collections Department is located on the second floor of the Morris Library, 181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267 USA.

Please read Visiting Special Collections for more details, including information about parking.

Handling Special Collections materials

Since the materials in Special Collections are unique, they require special handling.

  • USE PENCIL ONLY for note taking in the Reading Room. A department laptop computer is available for use in the Reading Room. Readers may also use their own laptops.
  • Purses, backpacks, briefcases, coats, and all items not required for research must be left in the reception area closet before entering the Reading Room.
  • Food and drink are not permitted.
  • Special Collections material must be handled with great care. Do not make any marks on the materials and do not open uncut pages. Ask for assistance, if needed.
  • Keep Special Collections materials on reading room table surfaces at all times, unless provided special supports for the materials by the desk attendant.
  • No books, papers, or other objects (except the special weights provided by the desk attendant to hold books open) may be laid on Special Collections materials.
  • When using manuscript material, do not disturb the arrangement of papers or folders. Ask for assistance if order of manuscript material is questioned.

Please see Special Collections Policies and Procedures and Visiting Special Collections for more details, including information about parking.

Ask a Special Collections Librarian

Have a Question?

Ask Us!

We are happy to help assist you with your research.


Special Collections is open Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Before visiting, please read the policies & procedures page and the visitor information page.

Also, for more information please see Frequently Asked Questions.