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Visit Special Collections


Access to items in Rolvaag Library’s Special Collections is by appointment only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Patrons must schedule appointments at least 24 hours in advance (the more lead time you can give us the better), and appointments are limited to 2 hour sessions. Patrons needing more than two hours with an item or items are encouraged to schedule additional appointments.

Library Special Collections Item Request Form

Users of Special Collections materials must bring an Ole Card or other form of photo-identification, and will be asked to provide a signature. The items you have requested will be retrieved for use under the supervision of a library staff member. All items will be returned to Special Collections before the library closes.

If you have any questions about locating materials in the online catalog, please contact the reference desk.

Questions concerning policy governing the development and use of the collections should be directed to Mary Barbosa-Jerez, Head of Collection Development, at, or 507-786-3226.

Use of Materials

Patrons are reminded of the following rules for use:

  • Materials do not leave the library, and must be used in our specially designated area, and under the supervision of a Special Collections staff member.
  • Absolutely no food or liquids of any kind on or around the designated area.
  • You will be asked to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling items.
  • Book cradles should be used as directed by library staff.
  • Pencils only in the area of the document for making notes.
  • Bags may not be brought into the designated area. Library staff will make arrangements for securely storing personal items while working with the document.
  • Follow all other rules for use as described by library staff.

Photocopying and Scanning

Because of the fragility of many of our items, we will not photocopy or scan items from these collections. However, with the assistance of our Special Collections staff, patrons may take photos of materials using their own smart phones or other devices.

Class Use

St. Olaf faculty may wish to use the resources in our Special Collections in their classes. While we cannot allow Special Collections materials to be used outside the library, we will work with you to find a space in the library where the materials can be viewed by the group under the supervision of a library staff member. Please use the appointment request form and specify that you are requesting for class use.