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Visiting Archives & Special Collections

Archives and Special Collections is located on the upper level of Ezra Lehman Memorial Library, in room 207. We are open by appointment only. Please email specialcollections@ship.edu or call 717-477-1123 (x3357) to schedule an appointment, or for more information.

Note on closings: If the university or library is closed due to a holiday or severe winter weather, Archives & Special Collections will be closed.

Discovering Archives & Special Collections Materials

All of the books in Special Collections and the Rare Book collection are listed in the Library Catalog. If the catalog record for an item you want says:

  • Location: Special Collections -or-
  • Location: Rare Books

please write down the location (Special Collections or Rare Books), call number, and title of the item, or email yourself the catalog record. Bring this information with you when you visit Archives & Special Collections. Staff will need this information to retrieve the item for you.

The repository maintains an in-house inventory for archival records that document the history of our institution. Public inventories of select collections are maintained on the Finding Aids page of this site, but these are not comprehensive. Please contact Archives & Special Collections staff for research assistance.

Archives & Special Collections materials and rare books may be used in Archives & Special Collections only.

Handling & Usage Policy

Before conducting research in Archives & Special Collections, all patrons must read, sign, and observe the following regulations. A copy of this will be provided to patrons at the start of their first visit.

  1. All researchers using SU Archives & Special Collections materials must have on file a signed copy of this statement agreeing to abide by these regulations.
  2. Archives & Special Collections materials do not circulate. All materials are to be used in the Archives & Special Collections reading room.
  3. Archives & Special Collections stacks are closed stacks. Only staff may enter the stacks.
  4. Food, chewing gum, and beverages are not permitted in the reading room.
  5. No outer coats, briefcases, purses, book bags, binders, folders, or other bulky items are permitted on the tables.
  6. All materials must be handled with care and rest on the table at all times. Use only one folder at a time. Preserve the established order of the materials. Do not rearrange the order of folders within a box, or of documents within a folder.
  7. White cotton gloves provided by the Archives must be worn when handling original photographs.
  8. Use pencils only. No pens are permitted.
  9. Do not place notepaper on books or collection materials when taking notes.
  10. Researchers may make notes of items they would like photocopied or scanned. Only staff may copy or scan materials. Staff reserves the right to refuse to allow copies to be made of items that could be damaged by copying or scanning. Copies may be used only for personal research needs and may not be placed in another institution.
  11. Please cite materials used in research according to the provided citation guide.
  12. Before leaving, researchers must return all materials to the staff.

Citing Primary Sources

Most of the materials in Archives & Special Collections are considered primary sources. A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time period you are studying. These sources offer a contemporary view of a certain event. Examples of primary sources are: diaries, letters, photographs, official documents, interviews, and works of art. Primary sources are created by individuals who were involved in the event or lived in the time period you are studying.

The Library of Congress provides a very good description of how to cite primary sources using Chicago style and MLA style. However, you should always abide by your style manual. For citation assistance, see the library's citation style guide.