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Guide to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

A guide to SCARC services; for additional information, please see our website

On-site Research Appointments

In order to provide more efficient and effective service, the Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) is excited to continue offering on-site access to our collections by-appointment. Advance notice of your visit and research interests allows us to better assist you in identifying materials relevant to your research, and provide more efficient service during your on-site visit. A by-appointment model also allows us to limit Reading Room disruptions, and focus on you and on your research needs.

Appointments must be scheduled at least one (1) business day in advance. During spring term 2022, appointment blocks will be offered once per day, four days a week at the following times: 

  • Mondays, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm,
  • Tuesdays, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm,
  • Wednesdays, Open House hours 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Thursdays, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and
  • Fridays, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Two researchers will be scheduled for the entirety of each appointment block. A third spot may be available for those patrons requiring access to microfilm exclusively; please contact us at for more information. If you think you may need to cancel your appointment, please let us know - we're happy to work with you to reschedule!

We will continue to respond to reference inquiries by email. In some cases, by working closely with our archivists and librarians, and identifying a limited amount of specific materials, we may be able to support your research remotely through digitization. 

For spring term, SCARC will be open through the Friday of Finals Week (June 10), with occasional holiday- and class-related closures (please see our public calendar for more details). Please note that appointment availability is subject to change based on a number of extenuating factors, including but not limited to: staff availability, Valley Library hours, University-mandated curtailment of services, and inclement weather conditions. SCARC reserves the right to cancel appointments; researchers affected by Reading Room closures and appointment cancellations will be notified. When applicable, Reading Room closures and the resumption of appointments will be be posted on this page.

SCARC will reduce operations over the summer break, beginning the week of June 13; appointment blocks are listed below.

  • Tuesdays, from Noon to 4:00 pm
  • Wednesdays, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • Thursdays, from Noon to 4:00 pm

Open House hours will be offered from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Wednesdays.

Additionally, due to replacement of our environmental control system and staff outages, SCARC’s reading room may be closed for several weeks over the course of the summer. Exact dates will be posted to the public calendar on our website as they are finalized. Whenever possible, we will continue to respond to general and reference questions remotely via our department email,, during these closures.

Conducting Research

You can expedite the research process by having a clear research topic in mind, and/or knowing which collection(s) and box(es) you’d like to review. If you’re working on a class project, letting Public Services staff know allows them to assist you more quickly and efficiently.

Materials are pulled by the box, rather than by the folder. Patrons are asked to use a single box at a time, and only one folder at a time. Maintaining the existing physical order of documents within each folder is paramount. For those new to archival research, Public Services staff are happy to orient you to the proper use of archival materials.

While we do allow the use of personal cameras, cell phones, and tablets to capture images, the use of portable scanners is prohibited. SCARC also provides the following for researcher use and convenience:

  • Gloves (only required when handling photographs)
  • BookEye overhead scanner (for the digitization of materials)
  • Pencils
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Light boxes (for viewing slides)

SCARC’s Reading Room is equipped with an A/V station that accommodates many current and obsolete formats, including CD, DVD, VHS, and cassettes, and a microform reader for microfilm and microfiche. We cannot, however, provide access to U-matic or Betamax tapes, reel-to-reel film or audio, or LPs. For information on how to access these latter formats, please review the “Duplication” section.

Research Services Updates

Though we’re back in our Reading Room on the fifth floor of the Valley Library, some of our services may look a little different this year. 

Paging-on-demand service will not be offered at this time; materials necessary to your research must be requested in advance, and will be limited to six (6) cubic feet of material (i.e. the amount that will fit on a library book cart). No more than five (5) oversize map folders can be paged per visit.

To ensure you’re able to make the most of your time with us, preliminary Zoom consultations are highly encouraged. We’re happy to help you make your visit a successful one in whatever way we can!

Our highest priority is to work with OSU classes and students, and we remain committed to providing high-quality teaching and research services. While SCARC’s on-site public services will be limited this academic year, remote reference inquiries are being addressed to the best of our ability. We will continue to respond to general and reference questions remotely via our department email,

Reading Room Guidelines

Using Materials

  1. Food is not allowed in SCARC. All drinks must be stored in sealed containers in the coatroom.
  2. All personal items, excluding writing utensils, notepaper, laptops, and cameras, must be placed in the coat room or personal locker for security purposes.
  3. All cell phones and other electronic devices must be silenced while in SCARC.
  4. Pens and other non-erasable writing utensils are prohibited in the reading room. Pencils are available at the reference desk.
  5. Adhesives including glue, tape, and post-it notes are prohibited in the reading room.
  6. Materials may not be marked, folded, or handled in any way likely to damage them.
  7. No more than one book or archival box may be accessed at a time.
  8. Protective gloves must be worn when examining photographic collections.
  9. No research materials may be removed from the reading room.
  10. All unbound materials (papers within folders and folders within boxes) must remain in the exact order received.
  11. Flash photography of SCARC materials is not allowed.

Using Lockers:

SCARC offers use of personal lockers to its researchers on the conditions that:

  1. SCARC materials may not be brought into the coatroom or placed inside a locker.
  2. No items may be left in the lockers after closing time.
  3. Any items left in a SCARC locker after closing will be transferred to the Valley Library Circulation Desk Lost & Found.
  4. For safety and security reasons, the SCARC staff reserves the right to open a secured locker at any time.
  5. The patron agrees to pay a $25.00 fine for loss of or damage to a locker key in their possession or damage to a locker.

Library-Use-Only ILLs

A third appointment spot may be available for those patrons requiring access to In-Library-Use only ILLs on microfilm. For researchers requiring access to non-microfilm Library-Use-Only materials (e.g. books and other printed works), scanning arrangements may be made depending on the volume and delicacy of the material. If you'd like to view non-microfilm Library-Use-Only materials in person, an appointment is required.

Please contact us at for more information.


A long, sloped path leads from the corner of SW Jefferson Way and SW Benton Place, past the Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center and the Pharmacy Building, eventually connecting to paths through the Library's quad to the north / main entrance of the Library. Alternately, there are two sets of automatic, button-activated doors at the entrance to the Library's coffee shop (Java II) on the east side of the building, directly across from the Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center. From the coffee shop, patrons can take an elevator to the second / main floor of the Library.

SCARC's Reading Room is on the fifth floor of the Valley Library, and is accessible via two sets of elevators (see floor map). Two sets of manual double doors lead into SCARC's Reading Room; when open, each doorway is approximately 45 inches wide. The tables in SCARC's Reading Room are ADA-compliant, and tall enough to accommodate a wheelchair or similar mobility device.

All restrooms in the Valley Library include accessible stalls with grab bars. Restrooms on the main / second floor of the Valley Library are gender neutral, or gender-inclusive. There are men’s and women’s restrooms accessible on other floors, along with additional, single-user gender-inclusive restrooms on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th floors.

COVID-19 Precautions

SCARC staff are committed to mitigating the risks associated with on-site collection consultations, and will continue to make disinfecting supplies available to researchers.

Effective Saturday, March 12, in most OSU settings, masks will be welcomed, but not required. Visitors to SCARC will no longer be required to wear a mask during their visit, but should feel free to do so as comfort dictates. SCARC public service staff are committed to making your visit as comfortable as possible, and are more than happy to follow your lead in this regard.

Remote reference inquiries will continue to be addressed to the best of our ability. If you’re unable to visit us in person, please contact us at

Tours and Open House hours

We’re excited to announce the addition of Open House hours during spring term! Beginning March 30, visitors can drop by our Reading Room on the 5th floor of the Valley Library every Wednesday between the hours of 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. One of our outstanding Student Archivists will be on hand to answer general questions about our space and services.

The Linus Pauling Office exhibit will also be open for self-guided tours. In-stacks tours of the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers have been discontinued.

Please note:

  • No appointments will be offered during these open house hours; researchers interested in making an appointment to work with collections in person, or who have questions about the scope of our holdings and the research we can support, should contact us at

  • The Reading Room is not an open study space. The first floor is a designated silent floor, and the 6th floor is home to the Graduate Student Commons. Study rooms throughout the library can be reserved at the Circulation Desk on the 2nd floor, and the rotunda on the 5th floor is a great place to study.