Classes and Tours in Archives and Special Collections

Special Collections welcomes opportunities to collaborate with instructors from UC Davis and outside of campus. We focus on providing hands-on learning experiences and developing skills in using primary sources, also known as primary source literacy.

See a quick tour of Archives and Special Collections:


  • To help us prepare for class visits, we require a minimum of two weeks’ notice from when the Instruction Request Form is submitted. We strongly encourage instructors to submit the Instruction Request Form as soon as possible since dates are limited (instructors who submit both their syllabus and the form are prioritized first when scheduling sessions)
  • A consultation with the Instruction & Outreach Librarian will be scheduled in order to discuss the class visit and determine the best materials to use
  • Instruction takes place in a classroom that accommodates no more than 24 people, which includes the instructor and librarian. If your class has more than 22 students, please plan for more than one class visit
  • Confirmation of requested times depends on the librarian’s and space availability. Class visits must be during our normal opening hours on Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Instruction in Special Collections is a collaborative process. The Instruction & Outreach Librarian and the course instructor (professor, TA, etc.) must both be present during every class visit. We are happy to accommodate those with special needs and must be alerted to those needs at least 5 business days in advance of the class
  • Different types of class visits can take place with Special Collections, such as orientations, workshops, in-classroom demonstrations, assignment support, and small group activities. In each case, every class will receive a standard 10–15 minute introduction that covers a department overview and proper care and handling of materials

Class Visit Planning Process

  • Requests are received
  • Date and time of the instruction session is confirmed by the Instruction & Outreach Librarian
  • Meet with the Instruction & Outreach Librarian to discuss the class visit
  • Share all relevant course materials with the Instruction & Outreach Librarian including syllabus, assignment, etc.
  • Identify collections using the Special Collections Request System (Aeon)

What to Expect

  • Upon arriving to Special Collections, students will sign in with their names
  • Everyone must store their bags, coats/jackets, and other belongings in the lockers provided in the reading room
  • While the proper care and handling of materials will be covered, instructors can help prepare for a visit to Special Collections by encouraging students to:
    • Wash their hands before class begins
    • Review Harvard Library’s 10 Tips for Reading Room Success
      • After reviewing the first 10 tips, click on “WANT TO KNOW MORE? Try these advanced techniques!” to see the last 4 tips
    • Only pencils may be used to take notes
    • Be aware that all food and drinks (including water bottles) are prohibited in the Special Collections classroom

Request a Session

Be sure to send a copy of your syllabus, as well as other relevant course materials such as class assignments, to the Instruction & Outreach Librarian (czcheng [at] as soon as possible so that your session can be scheduled.

Instruction Request Form

See more information about Archives and Special Collections:

Book an appointment to reserve a time and space in the Special Collections Reading Room:

Tours of Special Collections can be arranged for small groups during our normal operating hours. We require at least one week’s notice for tours.

To schedule a tour:

Please contact us at