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Special Collections: Using the Collection

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Guidelines for Using Special Collections Materials

Use of Loras College Library Special Collections

Special collections room

Special Collection materials do not circulate and must be used under staff supervision within the library.  In most cases, an appointment is required for viewing and use of special collections.  Please call ahead if you are coming from a distance to verify that we will be able to accommodate your request. Make all arrangements for viewing Special Collection materials with the Special Collections Librarian by calling 563-588-7873 or e-mailing


Researchers affiliated with Loras College will need to provide a Loras College photo ID for verification.  Researchers not affiliated with Loras College will need to fill out a registration form (good for one year) and provide a photo ID for verification.

Copying Materials

Photocopying requests are subject to fees and decision to copy will take into consideration item condition, copyright, and donor restrictions.

  • The Library no longer provides physical copies of requested materials.
    • Photocopy requests will be filled with medium quality, watermarked images of the requested documents which will be emailed to the requester.
    • Contact the Library Director to discuss prices for high quality scans for publishing.
  • If copies are desired, you will need to fill out the Reproduction Request Form below to have the library make digital scans.  
  • The Library limits the amount of scanning to less than 20% of the item/collection.
    • If you are willing to fund the scanning of the entire item/collection (subject to copyright restrictions) it will then be added to our digital collections with you listed as the funder of the digital collection.
  • Photography is allowed on a limited basis in Special Collections room and is subject to restrictions. Please ask the library staff member before taking any photos. 
  • Please make a good faith effort to read and take notes from the materials first.
  • We reserve the right to refuse a reproduction request if filling the request would result in damage to the materials being scanned or would violate copyright law.
  • Reproductions are for private study, scholarship, or research use only.  All scans will be watermarked.

Fees for Photocopying/Scanning:

  • Costs:
    • $10 for 1-25 pages
    • $5 for each additional 15 pages
    • $5 for a CD of the images

  • Collections that are not yet organized for public use will require an additional research fee of $5 per half hour for material retrieval.


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproduction of copyrighted materials.  Patrons should be aware that the Library cannot waive copyright as it applies to materials in its holdings or grant permission to publish copyrighted materials.  Because of copyright, the use of video cameras, still cameras, scanners, cellular phones, or other copying equipment is restricted in the room.

Personal Property:

  • Leave personal property, including
    • coats,
    • briefcases,
    • purses,
    • backpacks,
    • book bags,
    • and computer bags with the library staff member working with you.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in the room.
  • Only materials needed for research, including pencils, paper, computer, and research notes, may be kept with you.

Handling Materials

  • Library personnel will bring materials to you.
  • Use only pencils to take notes; pens are not allowed.
  • Make sure hands are clean.
  • Handle all materials with care.
    • Keep books, bound volumes, manuscripts, and photographs flat on the table.
    • Request book props or stands if you need to hold materials at a more comfortable viewing angle.
    • Do not lay any objects on top of library materials.
    • Turn items or pages carefully.
    • Do not bend or tear pages. 
    • Never fold a document.
  • Maintain all materials in the exact order received.
  • Photography may be permitted at the discretion of the library staff member.
  • You will be asked to use white cotton gloves when using some materials.
  • You may use laptop computers and hand-held audio recorders to take notes.
  • Manuscript and archive materials circulate one folder at a time.  Researchers are permitted to consult multiple print volumes at the discretion of the Special Collections Librarian.
  • No marking of or writing on Special Collections materials is allowed.
  • No tracings or rubbings may be made of any pages or the binding of any book. 


Permission to use materials in publication must be received in writing from the library or appropriate literary executor prior to publication. 

The Library would appreciate receiving a courtesy copy of all publications resulting from research performed using Special Collections which cites materials contained therein and also appreciates acknowledgment of use of the collections.

The use of Special Collections materials and exceptions to the guidelines are granted at the discretion of the Library Director.

Subject Guide

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