Special Collections FAQ
How do I get materials?
Lear Center collections are in closed stacks and do not circulate. They must be retrieved by Lear Center staff and used in the reading room. We ask that you fill out a registration form and show photo ID before you receive your materials.
Do I need an appointment?
Not necessarily. Please note, however, that there are over fifty separate collections and materials can only be retrieved by Lear Center staff, so it may take some time to fill some requests. You may therefore wish to contact us in advance to ensure that your materials are ready for you when you arrive.
How can I get reproductions of Lear Center materials?
Requests may be made in person, by phone, or by email. Small requests for photocopies can frequently be filled while you wait, though larger requests for photocopies or digital images may require several days to fill. For more information on reproductions, please see our photoduplication page.
Who curates exhibitions?
Most exhibitions are curated by Lear Center staff. We encourage students, faculty, and staff to mount exhibitions on their own stemming from their own research. Researching and mounting an exhibition can be a time-consuming project and Lear Center staff are happy to walk you through the process.
This isn't valuable. Why is it here?
Materials may be kept in Special Collections for any number of reasons. Some items are here because they are valuable; others because they are rare and difficult to replace if lost or damaged. Some items are kept here because of their old age, fragility, or awkward format. Still others are kept in Special Collections because they form an important part of a larger collection.
How much is my book worth?
I don't know. The Rare Books and Manuscripts section of the American Library Association maintains an excellent site called Your Old Books with many answers about what kinds of books are valuable and how to locate an appraiser.
Do you have a Friends of the Library group?
We do. Donations from the Friends of the Library help make possible lectures, receptions, scholarships, and the acquisition and preservation of rare materials for Special Collections & Archives. You can find their website here.
Ruth Rusch Sheppe '40 Director of Special Collections
Linda Lear Center for
Special Collections & Archives
Charles E. Shain Library
270 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320