Special Collections: Research

person sitting at a table with an open folder surrounded by tables with lamps
Information about visiting, locating, and using special collections research materials.


Collections are open to the public for use in the Judge Sarah T. Hughes Reading Room, located on the 4th floor of Willis Library, during normal operating hours. Since many of our collections are stored off-site, patrons are advised to contact the department prior to arrival to ensure books and other collections are available for use. Reading room hours vary of the course of the year. Please check our schedule for current hours and note any exceptions.

Locating Materials

Many of the books and periodicals that comprise the Special Collections can be found in the UNT Libraries Catalog. In addition, archive, manuscript, microform, photography, and some special indexes to collections can be searched in our on-line finding aids. Finding aids allow you to discover and understand the content and context of materials in a collection.

The Special Collections department receives new archival and rare and unique materials on a regular basis and some of our collections are not yet cataloged. If you are having trouble finding a book or a collection one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.

Using Materials

When requesting access to Special Collections materials for the first time, all patrons will be required to review an overview of our reading room policy and procedures and create a researcher’s profile through Aeon – the system UNT Special Collections uses to process and track requests. When visiting the Hughes Reading Room for the first time to use materials, patrons will be asked for a form of photo identification to confirm their account in Aeon prior to accessing requested materials. For information on duplication, use of digital cameras in the reading room and permission for publishing archive and rare books materials please see the Policy and Forms section.

If you would like to use Special Collections for commercial and non-profit promotional purposes, broadcast/TV/documentary, public display, exhibition, publication in print, internet or digital formats, or any other use, please complete the Request to License Special Collections Materials form.

Special Collections Research Fellowships

The University of North Texas Libraries invites applications for the UNT Special Collections Research Fellowship. Research in special collections is relevant to studies in a variety of disciplines including history, journalism, political science, geography, fine art, art history and American studies. We encourage applicants to think creatively about new uses for special collections. Preference will be given to applicants that demonstrate the greatest potential for publication and the best use of special collections at UNT Libraries. For more information and application details please visit UNT Special Collections Research Fellowship.

Send questions and applications for the Special Collections Research Fellowships to [Meagan May, Public Services Librarian][].

Coursework Development Grants

The University of North Texas Special Collections accepts applications for the Special Collections Coursework Development Grant on a rolling basis. These grants are awarded to teaching faculty who are looking to develop projects and assignments that will utilize materials held by Special Collections. Recipients will receive a grant of $500 to be made available as research and professional development funding. Proposals for the use of both physical and digital materials will be accepted.

For more information or questions, please contact Public Services Librarian, Meagan May, at meagan.may@unt.edu.

The Coursework Development Grant is supported by the Toulouse Archival Research Program Endowment.

Special Collections Summer Archives Institute

The Special Collections Summer Archives Institute is an experiential learning opportunity designed to immerse students in hands-on archival work, providing valuable experience and training in professional archival practice within the UNT Special Collections department. Each student will receive training to arrange and describe a unique archival collection. Additionally, each week a Special Collections staff member will lead a discussion about an area of archival practice to provide students opportunities to learn about all aspects of archival work such as preservation, digitization, public service, and instruction. At the conclusion of the Institute students will be asked to give a 3-5 minute “lightning” talk as part of a public presentation.

Send questions and applications for the Special Collections Summer Archives Institute to Meagan May.