Plan Your Research Visit

Welcome to the Eberly Family Special Collections Library! We’re happy that you have interest in our collections and we look forward to working with you during your research visit.

Exhibit Room

Enjoy the exhibit and then visit us in the Reading Room! We're right through the glass door!


COVID-19 Guidelines for Research Visits

The Special Collections Library now offers limited appointment-only research hours for Penn State University students, faculty, staff, and community members. We’re pleased to welcome you back into our Reading Room and look forward to seeing you. Please read on for important announcements about this service.

  • Appointments are available Monday to Friday between 10:00am and 4:00 p.m. and can be scheduled for any time slot during these hours.
  • Request an appointment with us! Please note that you'll need to select the blue "Continue" button at the bottom of the page to view your booking details and enter your email address and phone number. Confirm your appointment by selecting the blue "Submit my Booking" button at the bottom of the second screen.
  • Appointments must be made and materials must be requested at least 2 business days in advance to ensure the safety of researchers and library employees. We are not able to support same-day retrieval of materials at this time. To request materials, please visit the Libraries’ catalog or the Special Collections findings aids. If you need assistance in requesting materials or navigating these tools, please contact the Research Services team at
  • All researchers must adhere to current CDC and University guidelines for masking. Researchers will be expected to observe safe distancing guidelines while in the Reading Room. We strongly recommend that all researchers wear a multi layer mask that fits well for duration of research visits. The reading and reference rooms are enclosed spaces with limited air circulation.
  • We strongly recommend that all researchers, regardless of vaccination status, wear a multi layer mask that fits well for duration of research visits. The reading and reference rooms are enclosed spaces with limited air circulation.
  • Hand sanitizer is available, but for the safety of materials, handwashing is preferred.
  • Upon arrival at the Special Collections Library entrance, we ask that you call 814-865-1793 so that a team member can come out to greet and escort you to the Reading Room. The front doors will remain closed during appointments.

Thank you for your cooperation, and welcome back to Special Collections!

What to Expect

We’d like to talk a little bit about what you can expect when you arrive.  We have rare and unique materials and we ask our researchers to observe some rules to ensure that we help the collections last longer. This enables future researchers to use these rare, unique materials, too.

  • Please finish food, snacks, and gum before you visit us. Covered beverages are allowed in one designated area.
  • You may bring pencils, paper, laptop, camera, or tablets into the research space.
  • Please, no ink pens in the Reading Room. Pencils and scratch paper are provided.
  • We ask that you use only one box of archival material at a time to make sure that folders stay in the order that appears on the inventory. However, you may request multiple boxes at a time.
  • Please take only one folder out of the box at a time.
  • We ask that researchers use only three books at a time to make sure that you have space to use them safely. You may request multiple books at a time, but we ask that you use them three at a time.
  • Please leave your personal scanning devices at home.
  • We have lockers for you to stow your belongings while you are conducting research in Special Collections. They are emptied each evening.

Please ask if you have any questions! At the Reference Desk, you’ll find Special Collections employees who can help you decipher old cursive, navigate a finding aid, or consult with you about other sources you may find useful.

Offsite Storage

A number of our collections are kept in offsite storage. This means that it may take two to three days to recall these boxes. If you are planning a visit from out of town, it can help to check in with the Research Services team ( or 814-863-1793) if you  have any questions about the timeline for retrievals.

Duplication Services

  • We have self-serve scanners that you may use, free of charge.
  • You are also welcome to use a camera without a flash.
  • If you would like to make scans or copies, please consult with the staff members on duty to make sure that the material is sturdy enough to be copied or scanned.
  • We also offer duplication services for our offsite researchers at Special Collections' duplication rates.


Materials in Special Collections are subject to U.S. copyright law.  Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from the copyright holders to quote, cite, reproduce, or otherwise use collection materials. The copyright holder may be an individual or entity other than Penn State.


The closest Parking Garage is the Nittany Deck, a five-minute walk from the Library. You can find more information about how and where to park your vehicle with Transportation Services.

Where to Find Us

We are located on the First Floor of the Paterno Library. If you enter from the Curtin Road entrance of the Library, head left and you’ll walk straight into our exhibit area. The doors on the other side of the exhibit room lead to the Reference Room and our friendly Special Collections staff!