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Using Special Collections & University Archives

Visiting the Archives

The Special Collections & University Archives of the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Libraries are located on the Allendale campus in Seidman House, just east of Lake Superior Hall. Our collections are housed in secure stack areas where environmental conditions are carefully monitored to ensure a stable temperature and humidity within ranges appropriate for the preservation of special materials. Materials do not circulate outside the library. Procedures for use are designed to assure proper handling of materials consistent with the library's commitment to preserving its collections for future generations.

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
While these hours are generally stable, researchers and visitors not affiliated with Grand Valley State University are advised to telephone or e-mail to make appointments.

Phone: 616-331-2749

Maps and directions

Seidman House (#62 on the campus map) is east of Lake Superior Hall, across the plaza. Parking is available to visitors in Lot M, just south of Seidman House. 

All visitors are required to have a temporary permit to park in any non-metered parking area. Permits are available at no cost from Parking Services.

Regulations for Use of Materials

  • Smoking is prohibited in the building as well as in the Reading Room.  Food, beverages, or other foodstuffs and consumables are likewise prohibited.
  • Notes shall be taken in pencil.  No ballpoint, fountain, or felt-tipped pens may be used.
  • Materials shall be used with care.  The researcher will not mark or write upon any items, nor place paper on which he/she is writing on any of the materials being consulted.  At the staff’s discretion, the researcher may be requested to wear cotton gloves before using any materials.
  • Books must be kept flat on the table during use and their pages carefully turned.
  • The exact order and arrangement of the materials must be preserved.  If any mistake in arrangement or any damage is discovered, please advise staff.
  • Materials in the Special Collections & University Archives may not be removed from the Reading Room.
  • The photocopying or digital scanning of a reasonable amount of materials is allowed, subject to restrictions regarding copyright, fragility of the items, or those imposed by the donor.  Costs of photocopying are borne by the researcher.  Photocopies thus supplied may not be duplicated or deposited elsewhere without prior written authorization of the staff.   Request for photocopies are made to the staff.
  • Requests for electronic or computerized scanning of materials may be granted at the discretion of the staff.
  • The researcher is cautioned that the Special Collections & University Archives is not normally the owner of literary rights to books, papers, and manuscripts deposited therein.  The researcher is responsible for securing permission to quote and publish from the original writer/creator, or his/her heirs.  As a condition for use, the researcher assumes full responsibility for any infringement of literary, copyright, or publications rights belonging to the author, her/his heirs, or assigns.
  • By signing the Application for Use of Material form provided as a sign-in sheet and materials order form, the user acknowledges his/her acceptance of the above regulations.


Special Collections & University Archives provides photo-reproductions in reasonable amounts for scholarly and personal use under the following conditions: 

  • All photocopies are made by Special Collections & University Archives staff. 
  • Photocopies cost $.10 each for students and faculty, $.25 each for other researchers.  Photocopies delivered by mail cost $.50 each, plus shipping.
  • Scanned images cost $5 each to reproduce and are delivered by Dropbox unless other arrangements are made. Prints of these images cost an additional $10 each including shipping and handling. Costs for oversized, fragile, or special materials, or large orders will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Use fees may also apply. 
  • Special Collections & University Archives reserves the right to limit the number of photoduplicates in any order and may decline to make duplicates if the item is likely to be damaged in the process. 
  • Except for brief excerpts copyrighted material will not be duplicated without the written permission of the copyright owner. Researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of copyright.
  • Copies are prepared solely for the use of the researcher and may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, or placed in other repositories without the prior written permission of the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.


  • Permission to use or duplicate materials does not constitute authorization to publish them in part or in their entirety. A separate written request for permission to publish must be made in advance to the Head of Special Collections, and permission will be granted only after form is completed and signed. 
  • All requests for permission must be accompanied by a cover letter providing information on the nature of the publication. 
  • Permission to publish is granted for one-time use only, for the life of the project requested. Except for brief excerpts, material under copyright cannot be duplicated without the written permission of the copyright owner. The full responsibility for infringement is assumed by the individual requesting permission to publish.
  • Manuscript materials used in research are to be cited in any resulting papers or publications. Researchers are urged to become familiar with copyright law as the department assumes no responsibility for copyright infringement. Unless specifically stated, Grand Valley State University does not claim ownership of the copyright on any of the materials in Special Collections.
  • Use fees may be charged for commercial publication at the discretion of Special Collections & University Archives.

See also Copyright BasicsPermission to Publish Agreement


Special Collections & University Archives actively collects and preserves materials relating to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War; Michigan in the novel; Grand Rapids and west Michigan literature, history and culture; history of the book and printing arts; and GVSU history and traditions. If you have materials that you would like to donate to Special Collections & University Archives please contact us.