Special Collections and University Archives


Research using primary source material is different from research in the rest of the library. Unlike other library resources, materials located in Special Collections and University Archives cannot be used in other parts of the library or taken home. Because all research must be completed in the Reading Room, it is good practice to review the finding aids and make a research plan to make the most of your time in Special Collections.

The entrance to Special Collections in the Thomas G. Carpenter Library.

Special Collections and University Archives welcomes students, faculty, staff, and researchers to use its materials by appointment only. Email lib-special@unf.edu to set up an appointment.

Preparing for Your Visit

Make an appointment by sending an email to lib-special@unf.edu. In your email be sure to include:

  • your preferred appointment times; the library calendar has the current hours for Special Collections
  • your name, email, and cell phone number
  • Specify which collections you are interested in viewing. If the collection is large, note specific boxes and folder numbers. Note call numbers for any books or manuscripts. The materials will be pulled from the storage area in advance to prepare for your visit.

What to expect when you visit

UNF student carefully handling a Special Collections item with gloves.
  • Use of gloves are only required under special circumstances. Wash and dry hands before coming for your appointment
  • Place all bags in the Reading Room lockers
  • You will be asked to fill out a form, "Application for use of Special Collections materials". This information records what you have accessed in case you schedule additional visits and provides statistics as to what collections are used
  • If you are new to working with historic materials or rare books, you will receive instruction on how to handle fragile materials
  • When viewing loose documents and photographs, handle them carefully and keep them in their original order
  • When viewing rare books, do not force the book open so as not to split the spine. A book cradle is available for support of fragile volumes

Rules to protect Special Collections materials

  • All items are non-circulating and cannot leave the Reading Room.
  • Use pencils for taking notes, not pens, markers or highlighters.
  • Food, drinks (including water), and gum are not allowed in the Reading Room. Leave all food and drink items on the table near the door and dispose of gum before your appointment.

Archival Etiquette

  • Please be on time for your appointment. If you cannot make your appointment, please email lib-special@unf.edu as soon as possible to reschedule.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • You may use your cell phone to take reference images of collection items. Disable the flash before taking any pictures.

Reproduction of Materials

Permission to use Special Collections and University Archives materials does not include permission to copy or publish items. Please be aware of the conditions for reproduction of materials:

  • Some material reproduction may be restricted by donor stipulation, copyright laws, and/or the fragile nature of the materials.
  • Library staff will scan or photograph requested materials and will make them available digitally.
  • Any reproductions are for the sole and scholarly use of the researcher. Please do not sell/transfer them to others, further reproduce them, publish any part of them or allow their use by others without the permission of the Library.
  • If permission to publish is granted by the Library, any publication, exhibit, or other public use of materials reproduced from Special Collections and University Archives must credit the Library (for example: "From the Eartha M. M. White Collection, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida").
  • Materials in Special Collections are subject to contractual, copyright/other legal restrictions, and special conditions of use. The researcher is responsible for conforming to copyright, literary property, right-to-privacy, libel, and any other applicable laws.
  • Please contact Special Collections staff at lib-special@unf.edu for requests to digitize materials. The Library reserves the right to limit the number of items requested for reproduction or to decline to make a reproduction of any item.