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Library Special Collections Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions about using UCLA LIbrary Special Collections are divided into six categories: eDelivery, Contact LSC, Researching and Accessing our Collections, Planning a Visit, Duplication, and Instruction and Exhibit Loans.

Library Special Collections - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who can use Special Collections?

Our collections are open to all users regardless of affiliation with UCLA. Researchers must be at least 18 years old, or have graduated from high school, or be accompanied by an adult.

How do I search for materials?

To search for and request materials, please use UC Library Search.

To search collections and collections of boxed monographs, please use our finding aids on the Online Archive of California (OAC). (A finding aid is a descriptive container listing for a collection of archival materials. We create them to help you locate and request materials from our collections. The OAC is an index of finding aids from institutions across California.) Each finding aid contains a "request items" button that activates our online request system.

Requesting through the OAC is temporarily unavailable. To request materials, please see Requesting LSC Materials Described in the Online Archive of California.

Our curators and staff have also created subject-specific guides to assist you. Please see our LSC Research Guides.

Are any of your materials digitized and publicly accessible online?

To explore our digitized collections, please visit LSC's Online Collections.

How do I request Special Collections materials?

Special Collections materials do not circulate and may only be consulted in the Ahmanson-Murphy Reading Room in the Charles E. Young Research Library. However, some of our materials have been digitized and can be accessed online.

For detailed instructions on how to make a request, please see Requesting LSC Archival Materials Described in the Online Archive of California.

How much material may I request at one time?

Retrieval of offsite holdings* is limited to five boxes/items per day, with a maximum of ten items kept on hold at one time. 

     *An offsite holding is housed at SRLF. If the catalog record lists the item's location as SRLF, the item is held off-site. Most archival materials are held off-site.

A percentage of our books are held onsite and may be paged more frequently. Retrieval of onsite holdings is limited to an additional five boxes/items per hour.

How far in advance should I request my material?

Requests for offsite holdings must be made at least two business days in advance of your visit. Requests for onsite holdings are usually fulfilled within the hour on the same day that the requests are made. Library staff will make every effort to fulfill your requests by the scheduled delivery date. Please check your LSC User Account for status updates before visiting.

How long will my materials remain on hold?

You must access the materials you requested within seven days of your scheduled date of visit. Your materials are renewed for another seven days following each visit, with a maximum of ten items kept on hold at one time.

How do I access audiovisual (AV) and digital archival materials in your collections?

Please notify duplication services at speccoll-duplication@library.ucla.edu if you would like to access any AV materials. We cannot provide access to AV materials in their original format; they must be digitized by AV Preservation staff to ensure safe access. Digitization fees are currently waived for access requests, but fees may apply for larger orders and/or publication requests. Depending on the collection, you will either be able to receive low-resolution access copies, or you will need to view the copies on a locked Library laptop in the reading room. Since digitization can take as long as four weeks to process, please notify us as early as possible so we can let you know if you will need to visit the reading room for access.

For born-digital archival material or previously digitized materials, please email speccoll-duplication@library.ucla.edu to request access at least two business days prior to your visit.

See Access to Digital Materials for more information.

Does Special Collections lend or borrow through Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

We do not lend Special Collections materials through ILL.

If another institution agrees to loan their non-circulating materials, you will view them in our reading room. UCLA Interlibrary Loan Operations will inform you when we have received the ILL(s) you requested. You must have an LSC User Account prior to viewing the material.

Can I hire a researcher to conduct research for me?

Please email spec-coll@library.ucla.edu for a list of researchers who will conduct research on your behalf. The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSE&IS) also posts requests by researchers who wish to hire students to conduct research for them. 

Descriptions of prospective research projects and pay rates should be sent to:

Michelle Maye
UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
Room 207
Box 951520-1520
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1520
Phone: (310) 825-5269
Fax: (310) 206-4460

Can The Library write a letter of support for my fellowship/grant/research project application?
UCLA Library Special Collections (LSC) is open to the public; users 18 and over are welcome to consult materials in the Ahmanson-Murphy Reading Room. LSC does not require, nor does it accept appointments. Due to space and staffing constraints, we are unable to accommodate group research visits, nor can we guarantee seating arrangements. Libraries in the UC system are not academic units and as such the Library and LSC cannot provide invitation letters for fellowships, grants, and/or other research projects, nor can we assist with housing or other arrangements. Please contact the college, department, or center affiliated with your project to request support with your application and research visit.
What is the best way to contact you?

Reference and other inquiries

Center for Oral History Research

Duplication, licensing, and permissions

Instruction requests

Donations

How do I speak to a subject specialist?

Contact information for our curators can be found under the subject areas listed on the left-side menu of What We Collect. If you have a question about a subject area not listed on the left-side menu, please email spec-coll@library.ucla.edu. We will connect you with a specialist with whom you may schedule an appointment. 

Research Help is also offered by the UCLA Library.

How do I make a donation?

Please visit Giving to Special Collections and review What We Collect for the areas in which we are soliciting materials.

What is your mailing or shipping address?

USPS, please use:

Library Special Collections
A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575

FedEx and UPS, please use:

Library Special Collections
A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library
280 Charles E. Young Drive North
UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575

How do I report harmful description and content?

We invite you to submit feedback about how our collections are described, and how they could be described more accurately by filling out the form on Report Potentially Offensive Content and Description in Library Special Collections.

How do I order copies of collection materials? How much does it cost?

Please submit a duplication order through your LSC User Account. Duplication services are subject to a service fee.

For more information, see our Duplication Policies.

I would like to publish Special Collections materials. What should I do?

For all licensing questions, please email speccoll-duplication@library.ucla.edu.

May I film collections materials for a documentary, movie, or television?

If you would like to film collections materials onsite, you must obtain a filming permit. Please email speccoll-duplication@library.ucla.edu well in advance of your prospective filming date.

For more information, see Duplication Services and Publication Policies. Licensing fees may apply. The user is responsible for securing copyright.

How do I cite LSC materials in my research?

Our standard citation/credit line for Special Collections is:

[Identification of item], Collection Name (Collection Number). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

Do I need to make an appointment to visit Special Collections?

Appointments are not needed to consult our materials and we are unable to guarantee seating arrangements. Researchers must submit paging requests for LSC materials 2 business days in advance of their visit. This ensures that we have enough time to retrieve materials from storage and make them available on the day of your planned visit. The Ahmanson-Murphy Reading Room in the Research Library seats 14 users on a first-come, first-served basis and we implement a waiting list when full.

You do not need an appointment to speak with the reference desk staff.

When are you open?

For current hours, upcoming holidays, and exceptions, see our home page. We are not open on Sundays or holidays. Hours are listed a year in advance.

Where can I find information about parking at UCLA and/or directions to Library Special Collections?

Please see our guide on Directions and Parking.

I am visiting from out of town. Where should I begin?

Make sure that we are open when you plan your visit. Please also see a map of the campuspublic transportation to UCLA, and nearby hotels and accommodations.

How long may I use the Reading Room? Can I study there?

Reading Room seating is reserved for researchers consulting Library Special Collections materials during our open hours and is not a library study space. If the Reading Room is full, we ask that you keep meal breaks to thirty minutes.

Do you accommodate group projects or group visits in your Reading Room?

Consultations between individuals are allowed in our Reading Room, but if you are collaborating, we ask that you do so without disturbing our other researchers. To schedule a visit for four or more individuals, or to inquire about a group visit, please email spec-coll@library.ucla.edu at least a week in advance.

May I take pictures of materials in the Reading Room?

We allow photographs to be taken of most LSC materials in our Reading Room but flash must be disabled. We do not allow personal scanners, tripods, flash equipment, extension cords, or special lighting. Filming is not permitted. Please make sure that other patrons are not included in your photographs.

See Digital Camera Use in the Reading Rooms for details.

Some collections have donor-imposed restrictions that prohibit duplication in whole or in part. Photographing these collections is prohibited.

What are your accessibility accommodations?

LSC welcomes users with disabilities. Service animals are permitted in all areas of the building. Please contact spec-coll@library.ucla.edu if any of our policies may interfere with your ability to use a collection due to a disability. Individual staff assistance cannot always be provided but patrons may bring necessary assistive devices and may be accompanied by a companion. If you intend to use assistive devices in the Reading Room or if you intend to bring a companion to provide assistance, please email spec-coll@library.ucla.edu in advance of your visit, and please alert staff upon your arrival so we may best accommodate you.

Can I schedule a tour of Special Collections?

To schedule a tour of the department, please email Public Services Coordinator, Neil Hodge at nehodge@library.ucla.edu.

I am an instructor or faculty member and want to use Special Collections materials for one of my classes. What should I do?

See Teaching with Special Collections and fill out the form at the bottom of that page. 

Do you loan Special Collections materials to other institutions for exhibitions?

Please see Borrowing Special Collections Items for Exhibition.

What is e-Delivery?

LSC e-Delivery is a new service that provides low-resolution access images of LSC’s paper-based collection materials to remote users. LSC e-Delivery is available to all researchers but priority will be given to requests from UCLA community members.

What e-Delivery provides:

  • Researchers may request up to 100 pages of access images per individual per month.
  • LSC staff will page, survey, and create access image files of LSC materials based on specific information from a catalog record or a finding aid.
    • Your request should include the collection number, box number, and folder (or folder description) of the materials you are requesting.
    • If the requested folder does not contain page count information, we will do our best to fulfill your request given our program’s limitations.

What e-Delivery does not provide:

  • LSC is not adequately staffed to provide research services by proxy.
  • We are unable to consult large portions of our collections to determine relevancy.
    • In-depth reference requests will require consulting the materials once we re-open, or sending a research assistant to facilitate this research. We will provide a list of available research assistants for hire once we re-open.
  • We are unable to fulfill e-Delivery requests for oversize items, AV or born-digital materials, fragile items that present significant handling issues, and collections with donor or other access restrictions.

Access images will be provided in pdf format and restricted to personal research use.

If your fulfilled e-Delivery request does not meet your research needs, we encourage you to submit an additional request with additional collection, box, and folder numbers and we will attempt to fill it to the best of our ability and capacity.

To place an LSC e-Delivery request, please email LSC staff at spec-coll@library.ucla.edu to initiate a reference interview.