Special Collections Instruction: Planning a Class

Spring 2022 Update:

Special Collections is still organizing class visits for the fall 2021 semester while continuing to observe restrictions placed on any such meeting by LSU's COVID guidelines. We have a number of different options available depending upon the size of the class and materials involved, including the possibilities of our hosting a class virtually over Zoom, or prerecording videos to add to a Moodle site. We also hope to step up our digitization of materials to allow students to work with digital surrogates of class materials when away from the library.

Please contact us and together we can begin to think about the best way to safely accommodate the needs of your class.


Are you interested in incorporating active learning with archival materials into your students' classroom experience? We are here to help! Special Collections librarians welcome opportunities to give customized presentations on primary source research, the history of books and printing, and the material culture of books, among other topics. We are also happy to offer advice on materials to include in your own presentations and to assist in developing course-based activities involving rare books and manuscripts.

To schedule a visit please fill out this request form describing your needs and concerns. You can also contact John Miles, Curator of Books, directly at johnmiles@lsu.edu. Special Collections has a teaching team that includes Christine Cloud, Amanda Hawk, and Zach Tompkins, and can call upon additional Special Collections staff members for staffing and expertise should the need arise.

The instruction calendar fills up fast, so we advise you to schedule class visits as early in the semester as possible. We prefer a minimum of two weeks of advance notice but will work our best to accommodate any requests.

The library's McIlhenny Room is our primary instruction space, with seating for roughly fifty students, a large-screen monitor, lectern, and a white board, as well as display tables with ample space for library materials. An adjacent seminar space is also available for smaller classes. Larger groups of up to one hundred can be accommodated in the building's lecture hall. 

To learn more about the instructional services we offer and view sample activities and assignments, please see our guide to Teaching with Special Collections

Students view rare books during a class visit. (Photo taken during the COVID-19 pandemic)

Students view materials from the historic maps and manuscript collections. (Photo taken during the COVID-19 pandemic)

McIlhenny room panoramic.

Class instruction space in the McIlhenny Room.