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Special Collections houses approximately 15,000 items. Some of these items are rare or unique and most require special handling and preservation.

Access & HOURS

 Distinctive Collections materials are available by appointment.  Consultations must be confirmed by a DCDE staff member so please submit your requested dates at least one week in advance.  We are able to do partial scans and may be able to do full scans depending on copyright and staff availability. Please submit requests through this form. We also have numerous digital items already available in the Digital Library. For assistance in researching Distinctive Collections materials please email us. You can also tune in to our Twitter feed or our Facebook page to see highlights from our collections and ask questions.

The collections are available for use by Villanova faculty, students and staff as well as by visiting scholars and researchers.

Books in Special Collections can be identified in the library catalog. Select "Books & More" on the results page and then you can limit results to "Special Collections" using the "Collection" facet to the right of the results.

Class Visits to special collections or university archives

We can provide virtual tours and instruction of digitized collections via Zoom for teaching and learning support to replace on-site tours and in-class visits. Contact Us and we will be in touch to discuss course-related or general options for incorporating primary sources from our digital collections into your classroom instruction. Topics can include: General Introduction to Special Collections or University Archives; History of the Book; What is an Archive?; Web-Archiving or Personal Preservation instruction; Transcription assignments; or specific topics tailored to your course instruction.


Since many items are very fragile, photocopying is generally not permitted.  Digital photography is permitted on a case-by-case basis.

Further Information

Ask at the Access Services Desk or contact a Distinctive Collections staff member.