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Special Collections for ENGL 2201: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Special Collections

What are "Special Collections"?

The Special Collections Department collects and holds rare (and not so rare) books, manuscripts and other primary-source materials that support research and scholarship. It is responsible for collecting, preserving, and making available unique, rare, and historically valuable materials for research and educational purposes.

Where can these Special Collections be found?

Joyner's Special Collections are split between two floors.

The North Carolina Collection is located on the 3rd floor of the library's drum area. Simply take the elevator or main library stairwell to the third floor and follow the purple neon to the entrance. 

Manuscripts and Rare Books and University Archives are located on the 4th floor of the library's drum area.  To get to the 4th floor, you must first go to the 3rd floor, and then take the stairs or elevator outside the NCC's main entrance (elevator does not have service to the 1st floor)

What hours is the department open?

The hours for the two service areas differ from that of the rest of the library.  Be sure to check that we will be open when you are planning your visit.

What is a finding aid (or guide)?

A finding aid is an inventory of a specific collection of materials. It describes the different parts of the collection and their relationships to one another, as well as providing background information. Finding aids also provide a detailed list of a collection’s contents, usually in the form of a folder list. The finding aid enables you to see exactly what items we have and to request them by box number and folder title when you make an appointment. Some of our finding aids are online; others are in print only.

Our online manuscript finding aids can be found via the online catalog and can also be searched here.

Do I need an appointment to use Special Collections?

Researchers are welcome to visit Special Collections any time that we are open.  If your work is time sensitive, you are encouraged to request rare materials for viewing via the Aeon request system.

Can I make copies? What do you charge for copying?

The availability and cost of copies varies between the North Carolina Collection and the rest of Special Collections:

  • The North Carolina Collection (3rd Floor) has a public copier that charges .10 cents per page.  There are also two public scanners for public use. Microflim readers provide copies free of charge.
  • Manuscripts, Rare Books, and University Archives (4th Floor) copy and scanning information can be found here.


Are there special rules for Special Collections?

We have requirements that are different from those in the rest of the library in order to protect our rare, unique, and sometimes irreplaceable, items. No food or drinks are allowed in the service areas on the 3rd or 4th floors. There are also more specialized rules for the 4th floor service area that can be found here.