Skip to Main Content

Rare Books and Special Collections Instructional Support Guide

Introduction to Rare Books and Special Collections

Teaching and Learning Support at RBSC

Rare Books and Special Collections welcome requests for class visits to the RBSC seminar room. Through a visit to RBSC and an experience with collections-based learning and research your students will:

  • Benefit from experiential learning through hands-on work with primary sources
  • Develop research skills in finding and using primary source materials
  • Learn proper handling and use of rare materials
  • Understand research etiquette for future work in archives, special collections, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions

We will do our best to accommodate your preferred date and time, but we recommend booking at least one month prior to the visit in order to ensure classroom availability and enough preparation time for our staff. To book a day and time for your class visit, please complete our Instructional Support Request Form.

If your preferred date and time is not available, we may be able to accommodate your request by visiting your classroom, or offering an online class. Please do submit your request as early as possible to ensure we have time to prepare, regardless of format/location.

RBSC librarians and archivists are available to host classes, providing an introduction to our collections and tips for the safe handling of materials. We are also available to suggest resources that will help support the educational goal of a single lecture or an entire course.

When considering a class visit to RBSC, please keep in mind:

  • Faculty should submit their Instructional Support Request Form as soon as possible since availability is limited.
  • Once we receive your request, a librarian or archivist will be in touch to confirm the request, depending on availability, as well as discuss the class visit and determine the best materials to use.
  • Our seminar room can accommodate up to 25 students. If you have a larger class, you can book multiple sessions in RBSC to split the class into smaller groups.
  • Class visits generally take place during our reading room open hours (Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), however accommodations can be made for classes starting earlier or running later.
  • Every class will receive a standard 10–15 minute introduction that covers a collections overview and proper care and handling of materials.
  • A finalized list of library or archival materials needed for your visit (including author / creator, title, and call number / box number) should be submitted to the librarian or archivist at least one week prior to the class.

When students arrive, they should expect to follow these class visit guidelines:

  • Students should thoroughly wash and dry their hands before arriving for their class visit.
  • Students must bring their student I.D. or some other form of photo I.D. When they arrive, RBSC staff will ask them to exchange their I.D.s for locker keys so they can store their belongings in RBSC’s secure on-site lockers.
  • All bags, coats, and personal belongings must be kept in a locker.
  • RBSC provides paper and pencils for taking notes. Students may also bring in laptops (without the case) and phones to take photos (without flash).
  • No food, drink, or pens are allowed in the reading room or seminar room.

Rare Books and Special Collections Instructional Team

RBSC instructor Can provide instruction on...
Krisztina Laszlo, Archivist
Introduction to RBSC and special collections; using primary sources / archives for research; the organization of archives
Claire Malek, Archivist
Introduction to RBSC and special collections; using natural resource-related primary sources / archives for research; the organization of archives

Chelsea Shriver,  Librarian       

Introduction to RBSC and special collections; using primary sources / archives for research; the organization of archives; book history