Facilities and Equipment


Located on the 9th floor of Memorial Library and accessible using elevator #5 (marked "Special Collections and South Stacks"), the Department of Special Collections consists of

  • an exhibit area, containing changing exhibits;
  • a specially designed reading room for use of Special Collections materials;
  • reference works related to the Department's holdings;
  • a reference desk, staffed at all times while the reading room is open;
  • a seminar room for class sessions using Special Collections materials and occasional donor events;
  • the collections themselves, housed in areas with appropriate environmental controls and security.

The non-circulating reference collection in the Special Collections reading room is available for browsing; all other Special Collections materials will be paged and brought to researchers in the reading room. Special Collections materials do not circulate.


Available for use in Special Collections by researchers are

  • a book-edge photocopier appropriate for Special Collections materials;
  • a copy-stand, for use with either conventional or digital cameras;
  • a Hinman collator;
  • microfilm and microfiche readers;
  • black and white printer with debit card reader;
  • wireless Internet access;
  • a device for closer examination of watermarks;

among other specialized equipment.

Overhead Color Scanner

We invite you to use our Indus Book Scanner 5002, capable of producing digital images in color, grayscale, or black and white (in .tif, .jpg, and .pdf file formats) of originals up to 16" x 23" in size. This overhead scanner can be used safely for rare books and manuscripts. For an example of the level of detail that can be captured, see the engraving of the Medici family tree from Benedetto Varchi, Storia fiorentina (1721). The scanner is configured to save image files most easily to a USB flash drive (otherwise known as a memory stick or thumb drive) — please bring your own. UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students may wish to upload image files to MyWebSpace; using other dropbox services may be another option.