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Instruction in Special Collections and Archives

Students in Shanghai, Shestakoff CollectionWe encourage faculty to bring their classes to Special Collections and Archives. Class sessions can include activities using materials in our collections, introductions to using archival or primary sources, overviews of our holdings in specific subject areas, or instruction about how to locate archival and other primary sources. 

Ideally, students visiting our department for a class will have time with collection materials. Though handling of some materials may be restricted to prevent damage to fragile materials, our goal is to provide a hands-on experience for students.


Assignments that make use of Special Collections and Archives materials support critical analysis and engage students in critically considering and interpreting various types of resources in numerous disciplines. The sample assignments listed here are provided as examples only. While they can be modified to suit a wide variety of courses, actual selected collection resources, subject content, and assignment prompts should be created by teaching faculty members for their courses.

If you plan to create an assignment using Special Collections and Archives materials, especially one that makes use of our Guided Resource Inquiry (GRI) Tool, please contact us at (818) 677-2832 to discuss the assignment's details, confirm that materials are available for use, and determine whether materials might be placed on reserve in Special Collections and Archives for your class. 

Class Sizes

Special Collections can usually accommodate up to 20 students at a time, though arrangements can sometimes be made for larger groups. Instruction sessions can also take place in classrooms around campus, rather than in the department itself.

More Information

For more information about library instruction in Special Collections and Archives contact us at (818) 677-2832 or oviattsca@csun.edu. For more information about library instruction at the Oviatt, or to request a class session anywhere in the library, please visit the Library Instruction Request Form.