University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Class Instruction in Special Collections

Special Collections is happy to provide instruction to classes at the request of instructors or teaching assistants. Such instruction offers students an excellent opportunity to view and use original source materials discussed in class. A formal introduction to Special Collections can remove some of the students' anxieties about requesting and handling rare materials. Undergraduate students have subsequently used rare and archival materials for class projects and honors theses.

Instructors may arrange to have curators make presentations to their classes, co-present materials, or reserve the Special Collections classroom and rare materials themselves with minimal involvement from departmental staff. Sessions can be simple introductions to the resources available in Special Collections and how to find them, or subject specific presentations on materials and their historical contexts.

The strengths of the collections are in Catholic studies, Irish studies, Italian literature, Latin American and Iberian history and literature, sports and physical culture, and theology and church history, but there are sufficient resources to accommodate class presentations in many areas. Presentations have been given on such disparate topics as Gothic art, the Victorian novel, printing and poetry in Renaissance Lyon, and contemporary book design, and at all levels from freshman composition and college seminars to graduate classes.

Instructors should contact the Department, preferably several weeks in advance of the class visit, to discuss with the curator the course and the material available. Groups not affiliated with Notre Dame are invited to contact us as well for specific presentations or general introductions to the collections.