The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has two spaces for instructional sessions using materials in its collections: a larger Reading Room, and a smaller Seminar Room. Sessions are limited to a maximum of twenty students and fifteen items per hour due to space and security restrictions. These spaces can be reserved in advance for session times from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Single–session classes should be requested at least two weeks in advance of the session date. For multi–session classes, reservations must be made prior to the start of the academic term. Please use the online form, phone (217) 333–3777, or reserve in person at The Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Public Services Desk. All reservation requests will be treated on a first–come basis and confirmations will be emailed.
Material requests must be received at least one week prior to the class date, should be limited to no more than twelve items per hour. Items to be shown should be requested by arrangement with library staff. Most items in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library collections can be requested using the online catalog using the “Request the item for use in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library” link, and assigning the item to the class activity. For items without the link information can be manually entered into the request for in the Research Account. Requests may also be included in the class request form but must include call numbers and enough bibliographic information to identify the requested items. For multi–session classes that need to reserve titles for use in more than one session, please note which titles will need to be placed on hold. For security and preservation purposes, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library staff must review all manuscripts and rare books requested for use in the class.
Rare Book & Manuscript Library staff will work with the instructor to determine the mode of display for the requested titles. Instructors assume responsibility for the materials during the sessions and should be the only ones to handle the materials on display. Class attendees may, of course, request titles for examination at some other time. Please inform attendees that they must fill out the online Reader Account form and read our policies in advance of arriving for the session, and bring a valid photo id. When finished, please alert Library staff to ensure the proper handling and discharging of materials. If the instructor wishes Rare Book & Manuscript Library staff to participate in a presentation, arrangements must be made in advance with the library’s curators.
For security and conservation reasons, some valuable or fragile items may not be available for classroom use, or might require the presence of library staff while these items are on display.
For instructional assistance, please contact Curator of Rare Books at Ask a Curator.