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Special Collections Research & Access

Quick guide for WashU students and faculty.
Notice: The Julian Edison Department of Special Collections reading room in John M. Olin Library is open by appointment only and with limited capacity.

Quick Guide

1. Figure out what you want to use

Search Collections

Use the search tools to look at the online finding aids (inventories describing the collections)

  • Most collections are not available online. You need to use the finding aids to locate what you want to use.
  • Materials cannot be checked out, so usually you need to visit to do your research.  
  • Ask us if you can't find what you are looking for -- the staff is here to help you!

 

2. Make an appointment

Email or call in advance (spec@wumail.wustl.edu or 314-935-5495) 

  • All collections are in closed storage (closed stacks), and we need advanced notice to retrieve them.  Usually a day or two is enough, but sometimes longer (a week) is needed. 

Let us know which item(s) you wish to use.  Send us an email listing:

  • Book title and call number (as listed in the Library Catalog)
  • Collection title, ID, and series/box numbers (as listed in the ASpace Finding Aid)

 

3. Use the Collections

visit special collections

Visit and use collections at Olin Library, in the Reading Room

Remember: Give yourself TIME to do the in-depth work needed using original, fragile, and unusual materials.

What to bring:

  • Completed Patron Form (if it is your first visit this year)
  • required campus screening, mask , etc (as required per campus health and safety)
  • Laptop, tablet, camera (optional) 
  • Pencil and paper (we have some you can use too)

Our primary piece of advice:  PLAN AHEAD!

4. What if I cannot come to the library in person?

Contact us and request copies

 

5. Why is this so complicated?

Research Tips and Tricks