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Introduction to Special Collections and Archives

Accessing Special Collections

LSU Special Collections is open to all researchers, including students, faculty, and the general public. You do not have to be affiliated with LSU to access our collections.

Like most archives and special collections, LSU Special Collections is a non-circulating library. Very few exceptions are made for materials to be taken out of the building.

Shelving areas are not open to the public. Instead, items are requested via patrons' research accounts and are retrieved by staff for use in the Reading Room.

We invite you to: 

Making a Special Collections Request System Account

All researchers using LSU Special Collections materials must first create a Special Collections Request System account. Once the account is created, researchers have the option to schedule appointments to visit the Special Collections Reading Room, place requests to view materials in person, or submit duplication requests.

We highly suggest placing requests in advance of a visit because some materials must be retrieved from an off-site storage facility (requiring 48 business hours of advanced notice) and in-house materials can only be retrieved by staff from closed stacks.

Tips and Tricks for Reading Room Success

The Reading Room is a space for researchers to use materials from Special Collections. By following the Reading Room guidelines, visitors can help the library protect materials and ensure they will be available for future use.

  1. Sign in at the Public Services Desk in the lobby and present a photo ID on each visit.
  2. All personal items such as bags (including laptop and camera cases), briefcases, purses, coats, and umbrellas must be left in one of the secure lockers that are provided free of charge in the lobby.
  3. Wash hands with soap and water before handling materials. 
  4. Food, drinks, pens, and portable scanners are not allowed.
  5. A pencil, paper for note-taking, and personal devices (e.g. laptop, tablet, cellphone, camera) are allowed. 
  6. Self-service photography of collection materials is permitted after completion of a Camera Use Policy form, obtained from reference desk staff. 
  7. We offer patrons fee-based duplication services for personal or research use only.
  8. Take detailed notes, including citations, to make the most of your visit.
  9. Follow handling guidelines as directed by library staff.

Check out the following video from the University of Oregon Libraries to find helpful tips for visiting special collections libraries.


Contact LSU Special Collections

a small telephone icon  For informational questions, call the front desk at (225) 578-6544.

a small icon  For research assistance, call the reference desk at (225) 578-6568.

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