The Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room is located on the fourth floor of Founders Memorial Library (room 403) and open to NIU students, faculty, and staff as well as researchers and the general public. From June 13 - August 19, 2022, the reading room is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 am to noon and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and outside of these hours by appointment only. Please contact the Special Collections and Archives Department Head, Brad Wiles, if you require assistance outside of normal business hours.
The Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) unit of the Special Collections and Archives Department at the Northern Illinois University Libraries includes those materials that, because of their rarity, condition, form, or subject matter, are best handled separately from the general collection. Although these materials are kept in a controlled environment for preservation, we greatly support their use in classroom instruction, tours, exhibitions, research, and other instructional opportunities. We believe that interaction with rare and historical materials is important to the student experience, and we welcome the opportunity to work with faculty and instructors to incorporate primary source materials in to the curricula. We also welcome all researchers who have an interest in our collections.
There is always an exhibit on display, along with periodicals, catalogs, and reference books available for browsing in the Bernadine C. Hanby Reading Room for those who are simply curious.