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Irwin Lobby
Butler University Libraries

Service Guidelines

Butler University Libraries' Department of Special Collections, Rare Books & University Archives is located on the third floor of the Irwin Library in the Hugh Thomas Miller Rare Books Room. Materials do not circulate; researchers must use them in the reading area.


The room is normally open Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-4:30 PM. It is closed weekends, holidays, and for scheduled library closings.  For the next several months Special Collections will have an irregular schedule and may be closed during normal hours so please make an appointment or call ahead, especially if you are coming from a distance, to verify that we will be open.  Contact the archivist at or 317-940-9265.


Butler faculty, staff, and students will be asked to show a current university ID each time they use the collections. Researchers not affiliated with Butler will be asked to fill out a registration form (good for one year) and show a photographic ID for verification. On subsequent visits during the year, you will be asked to show your photographic ID.

Personal Property

Place personal property, including coats, briefcases, purses, backpacks, book bags, computer cases, cellular telephones, and personal audio equipment, in the designated area. Food and drink are not permitted in the room. Only materials needed for research, including pencils, paper, and research notes, may be kept with you. Any personal property brought into the room is subject to inspection upon leaving.

Requesting Materials

Most rare books, special collections, and university archives materials are accessible through the on-line catalog. Collection guides are available for some special collections and for the university archives either on-line or in the library. Staff members can direct you to the appropriate tools and aid you in finding what you need.

Please fill out a request form, available at the service desk, and give it to the staff member on duty. Since this is a closed stack area, staff will page your materials from the stacks and bring them to the reading area. Please return your materials to the staff member at the service desk. Materials will be paged until 4:30 p.m.; all materials must be returned to the service desk by 4:50 p.m. for reshelving.

Handling Materials

Your cooperation in following the procedures below is necessary and appreciated to help preserve materials for future generations of researchers:

  • Food and drink are not permitted in the room.
  • Use only pencils to take notes; pens are not allowed.
  • Handle all materials with care, and follow the instructions given to you by staff. Keep books, bound volumes, manuscripts, and photographs flat on the table. Request book props or stands if you need to hold materials at a more comfortable viewing angle. Except for special weights provided, do not lay any objects on top of library materials. Turn items or pages carefully.
  • Maintain all materials in the exact order received.
  • You may not trace, scan, or photograph materials.
  • You will be asked to use white cotton gloves when using some materials, including unsleeved photographs and negatives.
Use of Equipment

You may use laptop computers and hand-held audio recorders to take notes. Because of copyright, preservation, and noise considerations, you may not use video cameras or videotaping equipment, still cameras, scanners, cellular phones, or personal audio equipment in the room.

Reproduction of Materials

Reproducing materials by photocopying, scanning, or photographic processes can be extremely damaging to rare and fragile materials. We encourage researchers to allow sufficient time to take notes, since this is the least damaging way to carry the information home. You may, however, ask for a reproduction request form at the service desk.

We reserve the right to refuse a reproduction request if filling the request would result in damage to the materials being copied or would violate copyright law. Generally, nothing will be reproduced in its entirety, and no more than fifty pages or one-third of a collection will be reproduced, whichever is smaller. Reproductions are for private study, scholarship, or research use only.

Staff completes all reproduction work. Requests will be filled as quickly as possible, based on staff time and equipment access. If necessary, you may be asked to pick up your copies the next day or have them mailed to you.

  • 10 cents per page for photocopying (Butler students, faculty, and staff)
  • 25 cents per page for photocopying (researchers not affiliated with Butler)
  • Scanning and photographic fees:
  • Prices will vary depending upon the specifics of the request and market prices, since portions of these services are done out-of-house. Please discuss your needs with the archivist.
Publication of Collection Materials

"Publish" means the distribution of, or intent to distribute, any number of copies of a work, either by sale or for free. If your use of materials may result in a published work, please inform the staff member at the service desk. You will be asked to complete a "Permission to Publish Contract." Please note that researchers must obtain all copyright clearances before publishing.