The Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives combines the resources of the library's rare books and special collections with the Connecticut College Archives. The Center includes closed work areas and stacks with their own climate control systems and two attractive public spaces.

The Lear Center reading room has three tables for quiet or collaborative research and can accommodate up to fourteen researchers. The reading room also houses the Lear Center's artists' books collection and book collections on Rachel Carson and Beatrix Potter with space to exhibit items from the campus art collection. Four exhibition cases in the halls outside of the Lear Center and two cases in the reading room host rotating displays from the book, archival, and art collections.

The Palmer Room houses most of the private library of George S. and Elisha Palmer, which were donated in the 1920s and 1930s. It is equipped with a projector and screen and hosts class sessions making use of rare and archival materials.