Special Collections Instruction: Planning a Class

Are you interested in incorporating active learning with archival materials into your students' classroom experience? We are here to help! The Special Collections house books and manuscripts relating to every discipline and course topic. Special Collections librarians welcome opportunities to give customized presentations on primary source research, the history of books and printing, and the material culture of books, among many other topics. We are also happy to offer advice on materials to include in your own presentations and to assist in developing course-based activities involving rare books and manuscripts.

To schedule a visit please fill out this request form describing your needs and concerns. You can also contact John Miles, Curator of Books, directly at johnmiles@lsu.edu. Special Collections has a teaching team that includes Christine Cloud, Amanda Hawk, and Zach Tompkins, and can call upon additional Special Collections staff members for staffing and expertise should the need arise.

The instruction calendar fills up fast, so we advise you to schedule class visits as early as possible. We prefer a minimum of two weeks of advance notice but will work our best to accommodate any requests.

The library's McIlhenny Room is our primary instruction space, with seating for roughly fifty students, a large-screen monitor, lectern, and a white board, as well as display tables with ample space for library materials. An adjacent seminar space is also available for smaller classes. Larger groups of up to one hundred can be accommodated in the building's lecture hall. 

To learn more about the instructional services we offer and view sample activities and assignments, please see our guide to Teaching with Special Collections

Students view rare books during a class visit. (Photo taken during the COVID-19 pandemic)

Students view materials from the historic maps and manuscript collections. (Photo taken during the COVID-19 pandemic)

McIlhenny room panoramic.

Class instruction space in the McIlhenny Room.