Special Collections is committed to providing University of Tennessee faculty and instructors a variety of learning opportunities. Working directly with primary source materials can teach students how to verify sources, explore clues, and locate evidence. It exposes new scholars to a completely different type of research practice.

We invite students to visit Special Collections individually or in small groups outside of scheduled class time to complete assignments. Since we need to accommodate all of our researchers in the Reading Room and can’t predict how many people may arrive on a given day, we can’t accommodate entire classes in the Reading Room at once.

In addition, here at UT and at other institutions, Special Collections are not considered browsing collections. We want to establish best practices with our students now so that they will approach future research, here or elsewhere, with reasonable expectations that are in line with accepted practices. Our collections do exist to be used and the students will have the opportunity to handle materials while working on their assignments.

How to Request a Presentation

Schedule all library sessions at least 2 weeks in advance. We will do our best to accommodate your choice, but due to the large volume of requests we cannot guarantee your preferred date. Course instructors are expected to attend the library instruction session with their class(es). UT personnel may schedule an appointment here.

  • English 102  primary sources is scheduled with the Libraries’ undergraduate instruction staff.
  • Upper level and graduate instruction is provided in collaboration with the appropriate subject librarian.
  • Non-UT affiliates must contact the department head directly at

Preparing Your Students

Please remind your students to plan ahead. Special Collections has limited hours and collections are stored offsite. Students who leave assignments to the last minute may not be able to get access to the materials they need. Please refer to our Research Policies for detailed information regarding registration, reproduction services, and materials requests.