Today: Special Collections in Hornbake 10:00AM - 05:00PM

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about Maryland Room policies, consult the guide Using Special Collections and University Archives.

Special collections contain both primary and secondary resource materials that have characteristics which set them apart from other types of collections in libraries. These qualities may include:

  • Rarity: books, manuscripts and other materials which are old, scarce or unique.
  • Format: photographs, slides, films, audio and video recordings, maps, artworks, artifacts and other objects that require special handling.
  • Comprehensiveness: accumulations of materials that are individually not unique, but collectively comprise an important resource because of their relevance to a particular topic or individual.

Special collection materials are located in closed stacks areas, where they are retrieved by staff for researchers in our reading room. We focus on research as our primary mission. Learn more about us.

Appointments are not required. However, if you are conducting research utilizing our archival records, it is strongly encouraged that you contact us in advance of your visit. Archival materials take time to retrieve, and some collections may need to be screened prior to viewing. Speaking to us in advance ensures that your visit goes smoothly and maximizes time spent with the materials.

All patrons using Special Collections and University Archives materials in the Maryland Room must register for a user account. You may register online or once you arrive in the reading room. Be prepared to present valid government-issued or university-issued photo identification.

Our collections are open to all users. You do not have to be affiliated with the University of Maryland to view our collections.

All researchers using materials from Special Collections and University Archives must register for a user account. This account allows researchers to manage their research online. Once you register, you will be able to:

  • Request materials online even when the reading room is closed
  • Schedule your requests so materials will be placed on hold for you in the reading room when you arrive
  • Submit duplication orders and receive digital scanning orders online
  • View and track the status of requests and orders
  • Review request history
  • Export the citation for references

Once you register for a special collections research account, you are also able request materials from all Special Collections on campus, including Special Collections and University Archives, the Gordon W. Prange Collection, and Special Collections in Performing Arts.

The Maryland Room is open from 10am-5pm Monday to Friday. We are open for extended hours during the Fall and Spring semesters; Sundays 1pm-6pm and Wednesdays 5pm-8pm. View hours online.

FOR EXTENDED HOURS USAGE: Please note that some Special Collections material may not be accessible during our weekend and evening hours due to limited staffing. Please notify Special Collections staff in advance so that materials may be placed on hold.

Due to their rarity, condition, and value, Special Collections and University Archives materials do not circulate.

Digital cameras are allowed in the reading room and can be used to make personal research copies of materials. It is also possible to arrange for paper or digital copies of materials. Read more about our duplication policies.

Some materials have moved to Severn Library, our high-density offsite storage facility. Requests for these items should be placed at least 2 business days prior to your visit to guarantee that they will be available in the Maryland Room for your use. Please see steps to request Special Collections and University Archives materials from Severn Library.

Yes! Students are welcome to study in the Maryland Room.

There are also great study spaces located on the ground floor, second floor, and third floor in Hornbake Library North. The second floor is the designated quiet study space.

Wireless access and/or computer access for researchers outside the UMD community can be obtained by speaking with the reference desk staff on duty; both processes require photo identification.

Visitors can also set up their own accounts which grant 24 hours of wireless access. Please follow the instructions here to create an account.

Digital cameras are permitted in the Maryland Room to make personal research copies of Special Collections materials. Handheld scanners or other personal scanners are not permitted. Researchers are permitted to bring laptops into the reading room, however cases must remain in a locker.

Researchers may request high resolution scans and/or photocopies of Special Collections and University Archives materials directly from their user account.

An overhead scanner is available in the Maryland Room to scan only published materials from our book collections. Please note that you will not be able to scan archival collections using the overhead scanner.

Scanning directly to a USB drive is free of charge. The cost of printing scans in the Maryland Room is $0.10 per page for black & white; $0.25 per page for color.

Detailed information about scanning policies and costs.

Many Special Collections and University Archives materials have been digitized and are available online through our Digital Collections or the Internet Archive. This includes manuscripts, photographs, postcards, audio-visual material, rare books, publications, and more. 

Special Collections and University Archives offers volunteer, field study, and hourly student employment opportunities for individuals interested in gaining library and archival experience. Contact Amber Kohl for more information.

The University of Maryland Libraries request that citations from special collections materials contain the credit line:

Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries

In addition, it is useful to add enough identifying information so that a subsequent researcher may locate materials based on the citation.

Letter to John M. Steffey, November 12, 1963. Spiro T. Agnew Papers, Series I, Subseries 1, Box 1, "Personal Correspondence" folder, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Information about citing primary source materials from Special Collections and University Archives.

Information about citing books and other secondary sources, visit.

Special Collections and University Archives do not hold copyright over the majority of its collections, and contains a variety of collections that have copyright and/or donor restrictions. Researchers are solely responsible for determining whether they need to seek permission to publish materials from these collections, and for securing that permission from the copyright holder themselves.

If you are interested in scheduling a class visit or tour of Special Collections and University Archives, please contact Laura Cleary or call 301-405-9988.

The Maryland Room, reading room for Special Collections and University Archives, is located on the first floor of Hornbake Library North. Learn more about getting to Hornbake Library, including directional parking, mass transit and accommodation information.

Food and drink is not permitted in the Maryland Room. If you bring a lunch, you may keep it secure in a locker outside the reading room. Hornbake Library is located next to a courtyard with benches if you wish to enjoy your lunch outside. Vending machines can be found in the south wing of Hornbake Library.

The Stamp Student Union is located within walking distance to Hornbake Library if you would like to buy lunch or take a coffee break.