The Special Collections Research Center supports the teaching mission of the University of Chicago. Each year the Special Collections Research Center hosts a diverse range of classes drawing on rare books, archives, and manuscripts in Special Collections. Instructional use of the Special Collections classrooms is reserved only for classes using Special Collections materials and requires staff permission.

Instructional Rooms Available


  • Technology-friendly classroom designed to provide instructors an opportunity to conduct hands-on, in-depth instructional use of Special Collections materials
  • Features two plasma display screens, media players, and easy laptop connections
  • Allows instructors to integrate Special Collections original format primary resources with online electronic resources
  • Capacity of the Rosenthal Seminar Room is suitable for classes of no more than 20 students


  • Suitable for larger classes (no more than 35 students) using Special Collections materials or those classes using larger format Special Collections materials.
  • Equipped with a computer, projector and screen, digital camera, audio system, media players, and easy laptop connections to the screen display

Scheduling a Class Visit

  • Please send us your request. Please include the class title and size, as well as preferred date and time of class meeting. Please specify which subject areas and formats of Special Collections materials will be used for your class.
  • If you are an elementary, middle, or high school teacher, please visit our schools page for more information.
  • Please make your reservation as far in advance as possible, but at least one week in advance.
  • The Seminar Room and the Special Collections Classroom can be reserved for individual sessions using Special Collections materials, or, if a class will be making use of Special Collections materials throughout the quarter, for the entire quarter.
  • Once you have confirmed your class visit, request Special Collections items for your class using the Special Collections online request system

Teaching Support

  • If you would like to have a member of the Special Collections staff speak to your class, we can arrange for a variety of presentations, from a ten-minute introduction to a full class session.
  • Special Collections staff members can teach class sessions focused on Special Collections holdings in a specific subject area, lead introductory sessions on archival research, and provide general overviews of the history of printing, among many other topics.
  • Librarians can help you locate materials in Special Collections to support your teaching. We have extensive knowledge of the resources in Special Collections, so please don't hesitate to contact us for suggestions for item selection.
  • Special Collections librarians are happy to meet with faculty members to create assignments based on materials in Special Collections. Consulting with Special Collections staff in advance will help us to prepare for student needs.

Preparing for a Class Visit

  • The guidelines that apply to the Special Collections Reading Room also apply to the Rosenthal Seminar Room and Special Collections Classroom. Please distribute these guidelines to your students before class.
  • A librarian will be present to greet your class. When entering Special Collections, faculty members and students will be asked to check their coats and bags in our locker room. Visitors may use pencil only (we have an ample supply). Food and beverages are not allowed in Special Collections or in the Rosenthal Seminar Room and Special Collections Classroom.
  • Students and faculty are welcome to take notebooks, secondary sources, and laptop computers into the Rosenthal Seminar Room or the Special Collections Classroom.