The Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room is located on the fourth floor of Founders Memorial Library (room 403) and open to NIU students, faculty, and staff as well as researchers and the general public. From June 13 - August 19, 2022, the reading room is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am to noon and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and outside of these hours by appointment only. Please contact the Special Collections and Archives Department Head, Brad Wiles, if you require assistance outside of normal business hours.
Our collection is open to all—faculty, staff, students, and the public. Researchers who wish to use departmental materials need not make an appointment unless they require in-depth reference assistance. Classes or groups need to schedule an appointment. Please contact the RBSC Librarian to reserve a time or for general inquiries. Refer to the RBSC Reading Room Policies for details about using our collections.
First-time researchers will need to complete a registration form. Call slips must be completed for each publication title or archival box requested. Researchers are allowed a maximum of 10 items at a time. Requests for materials are not accepted after 3:30 pm.
There are 3 basic category types that will indicate which resource is needed to be used to find relevant material:
Publications—books, periodicals, catalogs, audiovisual material, etc. that have been published. Items may be found in Rare Books or Special Collections. Search the library catalog.
Archives—collections of papers, records, objects that documents a person or an organization. Search Archon (archival database).
Manuscripts—handwritten documents that are precursors to printed materials. Can be found in thelibrary catalog or inArchon.
Many of our dime novels have been digitized and are freely accessible. Researchers needing to consult originals of items that have digital surrogates must receive special permission from the RBSC Librarian. Requests to view dime novels that have not been digitized must be received at least three business days in advance of your visit.