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Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives: Visiting Special Collections

A guide to conducting archival research and exploring special collections at Connecticut College

Contact information

The Lear Center is located on the second floor of the Shain Library. The Lear Center is open by appointment only until August 23, 2021. Please reach out to us to schedule an appointment:

Benjamin Panciera, Director of Special Collections

Deborah Kloiber, College Archivist

Jenifer Ishee, Librarian for Special Collection and Archives

What to expect

The stacks in the Lear Center are "closed stacks" which means they are not open for browsing like the main Library stacks. You can search many of our archival and manuscript collections using the dedicated Lear Center Search, using the main Library Catalog to locate any books from our print collections, or find general information about all of our collections by browsing our Website

Because of the nature of the collections, the reading room is considered a secure area, and the materials are not in circulation. All materials must be used in the reading room. To ensure the safety and longevity of these items we have a few guidelines to assist researchers and protect our archives.

  • No food, drinks, or pens are allowed in the Lear Center or near the materials. You may have your laptop, pencils, papers, cell phone, and camera. Our staff are happy to provide you with pencils, scrap paper, or an extension cord, and we can show you how to use the researcher scanner (free of charge).  You will be directed where to store your coat, umbrella, backpack, and briefcase. 
  • Next, you will sign in at the desk and be greeted by a staff member. If this is your first time visiting then you will need to complete a registration form; you will also need to show a photo i.d. This is a one-time process and the next time that you visit you will only need to sign-in.
  • Lear Center staff and student assistants are knowledgeable about the collections and will happily assist you in beginning your research. You can come in during regular open hours, you can arrange an appointment with a librarian, or you can e-mail for assistance. If you already know what materials you would like to work with, call or e-mail ahead of time and the materials will be pulled and waiting for you.