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We welcome Princeton University students, faculty, staff, and visiting researchers to explore the holdings of the Department of Special Collections. The information on this page will help you get started with your research.
Please note: At this time, due to COVID, the Special Collections reading rooms are only open to members of the Princeton University community who have access to campus buildings. No appointment is necessary.
Due to a rise in COVID cases, the Princeton University Library has made the difficult decision to suspend visits to Special Collections for non-Princeton researchers for at least the month of January, 2022. This will go into effect on January 10, 2022 and will be in place at least through January 31, 2022. If you had an appointment for Special Collections Firestone or Special Collections Mudd Library in the month of January, you should have received an email from us cancelling your appointment(s). We expect appointments to resume on February 1. You are welcome to request future appointments for the coming months with the understanding that changes in COVID could lead to limitations on access with little notice. The most up-to-date information for researchers can be found on this page.
We recommend that you begin your search by determining whether or not an in-person visit is necessary. We can work with you to help make this determination. The following information should help as you begin your research:
You can start your research through our various online discovery tools. We’ve highlighted the most commonly used tools here:
Use the Finding Aids Database to locate archival material. Use the Library Catalog to locate printed material and other special collections items. Many of our digitized materials can be found in these resources.
Looking for a senior thesis or dissertation? It may already be digitized and available through DataSpace or ProQuest. If it’s not already digitized, you can place a request through the Senior Thesis Order Form.
Once you’ve discovered the materials that are relevant for your research, we offer several virtual access options.
Email Reference: You are always welcome to send us a message through our Ask Us! form. If you have a simple question or just require information verification, drop us a note and we can help you find the answer.
Digitization: You can place a digitization request for most materials in the collection via our Ask Us! form. Details about our digitization program can be found on our Digitization and Publication Services page. This is also where you will find our Copyright, Credit and Citation Guidelines.
Virtual Reference: You are welcome to request a virtual consultation with a staff member who can review collection materials with you over Zoom. Consultations are limited to 1 hour. This is a great way to get a sense of what’s in the collection or to help you narrow down a digitization request. You can request a virtual reference consultation by contacting us through the Ask Us! form.