Special Collections invites visitors to learn about and enjoy its holdings of rare books and other primary source materials. You can schedule an instruction session using this form. We provide instruction and other educational programming to University faculty and staff, graduate and undergraduate classes, student groups, researchers, and visitors from the Madison community who are unaffiliated with the university.
Our librarians offer a wide range of instruction services and modules, ranging from general introductions to primary source research and our collections to specialized sessions focusing on specific materials, periods, and topics. We partner with instructors to select materials for class sessions, develop learning objectives, and create assignments to encourage student engagement. We also offer personalized tours of our exhibits.
Special Collections’ regular hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm, but we can sometimes accommodate visits outside of our regular hours. You can find information on getting to Special Collections on this page.
Special Collections hosts class sessions in our seminar room (Memorial 984), which has a capacity of 25 people. If your class is too large to bring to Special Collections all at once, we suggest either booking multiple slots for your students or having groups take turns going into the seminar room. The seminar room is equipped with:
The room can be configured in many ways, but the safety of the materials is the priority in any room setup. At the beginning of every session a librarian will give an introduction to Special Collections and an overview of how to handle the material.
For the safety of the materials, visitors must store their belongings in a locker. We do not permit outerwear, food and drink, pens, or bags and backpacks in Special Collections. Pencils, notebooks, laptops, and cell phones are permitted, but flash photography is prohibited. Visitors are also asked to be mindful of any jewelry or accessories (keys, headphones, lanyards) which may pose a risk to the materials.
Before filling out the form to request a visit, please review the information on this page. As visits to Special Collections are often in high demand, we request that you contact us as far in advance as possible. Although we will make every effort to meet your needs, we cannot guarantee any certain times or dates. Please let us know if you require any disability accommodations for your visit.
If you are unaffiliated with the university, you will need to request a guest pass.