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.

About Special Collections

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, where they are retrieved by staff for researchers in the Maryland Room, the reading room for Special Collections and University Archives. Learn more about us.

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

Please note that students studying in the Maryland Room are required to follow the reading room guidelines. Food, drinks and pens/highlighters are not permitted inside the reading room. All coats/bags must be placed in a locker (at no cost).

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.

Special Collections and University Archives offer volunteer, field study, and hourly student employment opportunities for individuals interested in gaining library and archival experience.

Jobs and Graduate Assistant positions at the Libraries posted online at www.lib.umd.edu/hr/employment-opportunities/home.

To apply for hourly student assistant positions across all the Libraries visit https://www.lib.umd.edu/hr/employment-opportunities/hourly-student-jobs or contact Amber Kohl at amberk@umd.edu to inquire about open hourly student assistant positions in Special Collections and University Archives.

If you are interested in scheduling a class visit or tour of Special Collections and University Archives, please contact our Instruction and Outreach staff at lib-speccoll-outreach@umd.edu or call 301-405-9988.

Using Our Collections

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

Please visit our getting started guide to learn how to search and request materials from our archival and book collections.

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

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

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

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

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. Overhead scanners are available for copying books from the collections, depending on their age and condition.

The overhead scanners are available in the reading 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.

It is also possible to arrange for digital copies of materials. Read more about our duplication policies online.

Yes, you may request digital copies of materials from our collections using your special collections research account. Read more about our duplication policies.

Please review our getting started guide to learn how to place a duplication order for materials from our collections.

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

You can also find Special Collections material digitized in our online exhibits.

Some materials have moved to Severn Library, our high-density offsite storage facility. Requests for these items should be placed several business days prior to your visit to ensure the materials will be available in the reading room.

Please see instructions to request Special Collections and University Archives materials from Severn Library.

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.

We request that citations from Special Collections and University Archives materials contain the credit line:

Special Collections and University Archives, 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. For example:

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

View more information about citing primary source materials from Special Collections and University Archives.

View information about citing books and other secondary sources, visit.

Visiting Us

The Maryland Room, reading room for Special Collections and University Archives, is located on the first floor of Hornbake Library North.

Learn more about visiting Hornbake Library, including directional parking, mass transit and accommodation information.

The Maryland Room is generall 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. Please review our current hours online for exceptions before your visit.

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.

Pencils, papers, books, and other research materials are permitted in the reading room. Pens, highlighters, and markers are prohibited, as well as food and drink (including candy and water).

Visitors are asked to store coats, bags, and other personal belongings in lockers when they arrive. Please be sure to bring in a government-issued photo id into the reading room with you if it is your first time visiting.

Please review our getting started guide to learn more about what to expect when visiting the Maryland Room.

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 online instructions 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 who would like to use a tripod to take images of materials from the collections must first secure permission from the curator of the collection. Please contact us in advance if you plan to use a tri-pod in the reading room.

Food and drink is not permitted in the reading 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 are located in the south wing of Hornbake Library.

The Stamp Student Union and The Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center are located within walking distance to Hornbake Library if you would like to buy lunch or take a coffee break.