Access to Materials

Lear Center collections are stored in closed stacks. All materials are housed on campus, allowing for retrieval in less than 24 hours. In some circumstances we may be able to retrieve items for you while you wait, though it is always best for you to contact us in advance to ensure that your books and manuscripts are ready for you when you arrive. All researchers must fill out a reader registration form and show a photo ID (Conn College ID is acceptable).




Lear Center staff will make reproductions of materials for patrons subject to copyright law and the condition of the materials. Staff reserve the right to reject requests when materials are too fragile or when filling the request would take an inordinate amount of staff time.

All digital reproductions will be scanned as 300dpi JPEGs, unless otherwise requested. 


Connecticut College affiliates (faculty, staff, department requests, alumni)

  • Photocopies: $0.50/page
  • Digital Scans: $2.00/image

Non-Connecticut College affiliates

  • Photocopies: $0.50/page 
  • Digital Scans: $10.00/image

Digital images will be delivered via email or DVD, depending on file size. DVDs sent by mail will incur a shipping charge. In addition, remote requests may bring an additional $10 processing fee. For fees for images from the Rachel Carson collection, please contact Benjamin Panciera.

Permission to Publish

Permission to publish is required to reproduce text or images from Lear Center collections. Requests must be submitted in writing, and should include the following information:

  • Materials requested
  • Title of the publication/work
  • Author
  • Format (book, exhibition, article, etc)
  • Date of publication (known or anticipated)
  • Distribution (North American, Worldwide)
  • Use (commercial, personal, non-profit)

Please note that in many instances copyright is not held by Connecticut College and researchers are responsible for indentifying the copyright holder and securing permission to reproduce copyrighted materials before publishing.


The Lear Center encourages faculty to schedule class sessions in the Palmer Room. This provides a unique opportunity to familiarize students with primary source research. Lear Center staff can provide a brief introduction to Special Collections and Archives or conduct entire class sessions, depending on the wishes of the instructor. Faculty who wish to make use of rare materials throughout the semester should contact Lear Center staff to discuss the possibility of having their classes meet regularly in the Palmer Room.

In the past, Lear Center collections have been used in approximately 60 class session per year from the following departments: Anthropology, Art, Art History and Architectural Studies, Classics, Dance, East Asian Studies, Education, English, French, Gender and Women's Studies, History, Italian, Music, Slavic Studies, and Theater. The department has ample resources for most course offerings in the humanities and social sciences. Class sessions have ranged from general introductions to primary sources in a field to specific topical presentations to project-based instruction in the use of primary sources in research. Lear Center staff are happy to discuss class projects and potential research topics using our collections.

Arranging a Visit

Please provide Lear Center staff with at least two weeks' advance notice when arranging a class session in the Center. This allows us to ensure that the items you need are available and that we are prepared to arrange and introduce the materials. Students are encouraged to handle materials, but should make certain that their hands are clean (the Lear Center does not require the use of gloves for handling books and manuscripts). Lear center staff can offer preliminary instruction on the handling of delicate materials.

If you would like to find a way to integrate the use of rare materials into research or class projects, don't hesitate to make an appointment to come in and discuss this with Lear Center staff. In some circumstances it may be possible to digitize materials for further use in the classroom.

Why Use Our Collections?

The Lear Center offers a unique opportunity on campus to analyze rare materials. Students can learn the basic research skills necessary in researching primary source materials. Because many of the items in the collections are unique, there is the potential for significant discoveries to be made. Many of our manuscript collections have been largely unused and any research performed on these documents will bring to light something new. We have collections in all subject areas with particular strength in the following fields:

  • English and American literature
  • American History
  • Environmental Studies
  • Women's Studies
  • Book Arts and the history of printing
  • Children's literature and illustration
  • History and Architecture of Connecticut College and New London