Using the Collections

Special Collections & Archives is open to all students, scholars and members of the general public who wish to use our materials. You do not need an appointment to come to SC&A but if looking for specific material, please let us know in advance so we can retrieve the material.

Wesleyan Special Collections & Archives reading room

Before you Arrive

  • Register as a Researcher

    This one-time researcher registration process is easy and only required for those not affiliated with Wesleyan University.

  • Request Material you Want to Use

    Please submit your request at least 1 business day prior to arrival. Email to let us know what you're interested in seeing, or those on campus can fill out a paper request form (found in SC&A) for printed books, archival materials, and other items.

    Most of our rare books are listed in Wesleyan's OneSearch. For archival collections, most can be found in our archival collections list. For help finding materials, see our frequently asked questions for finding materials. Not all of SC&A's collections can be found online, so please contact us about your research and questions on using SC&A materials.

When you Arrive

  • For Outside Researchers
    We will need to see a photo ID and have a completed new user form. We accept government-issued photo IDs (such as a driver license or passport) or any university-issued ID.
  • General Rules
    • Ensure your hands are clean before you handle materials.
    • You must use materials in the reading room, as they do not circulate. 
    • Security cameras monitor the reading room at all times.
    • The use of laptops and other electronic devices is permitted, but computer bags and associated gear must be stowed in a locker or the closet. Personal scanning devices are not permitted.
    • Filming and video requires advance notice and permission.

    All materials should be handled with extra care:

    • Use pencils only; no pens of any kind, please. Pencils are available if you do not have one.
    • Use only one folder or item at a time.
    • Folders of materials must be kept flat on the table. Bound volumes must be supported in a foam cradle.
    • Do not lean on materials, mark them, or take notes on top of them.
    • Turn pages gently. 
    • Keep any loose material in the order in which you find it.
    • Report any mis-arrangements, mutilations or unopened leaves.
    • For most materials, gloves are not required. At the discretion of the staff, researchers may be required to wear gloves when handling certain materials such as medieval manuscripts and unsleeved photographs.

What Can I Bring into the Reading Room?

  • Allowed
    • Camera
    • Cellphone (set to silent or vibrate)
    • Laptop (without its sleeve or bag)
    • Notebooks, note pads, binders, and folders
    • Pencils
    • USB drive
  • Not Allowed
    • Bags, purses, and pouches
    • Drinks (including water bottles)
    • Food
    • Pens
    • Scanners
    • Lighting equipment
If you are visiting from out of town, please see our Visit section for more information.