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Welcome to Special Collections

A guide to visiting the Special Collections department at the University of Iowa Libraries.
  Finding a personal researcher

Special Collections and University Archives receive numerous reference questions a day from patrons from all academic backgrounds and affiliations, and from all parts of the world. It is often the case that the patron requests in-depth research of a collection and/or numerous reproductions of collection materials. Special Collections staff do not always have the time to devote to these questions or reproduction requests; that is where researcher-hired University of Iowa School of Library and Information Scientist (SLIS) student help is beneficial.

Patrons should first work with Special Collections staff to determine the size of the request. Requests can be sent directly to or by completing an online form. If the size is determined to be too large or time-consuming to complete, patrons will be provided with directions on how to arrange hiring a SLIS student to complete the request. Staff in SLIS will post the job, including hourly pay and an estimated research timeline, to the SLIS student body. The first eligible student to respond gets the job, and it is up to the student to contact the patron and begin the research.

Payment is dealt with solely between the patron and the SLIS student. Neither SLIS nor Special Collections is responsible for payment or unfinished or unsatisfactory work completed by the student researcher.