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Using the Lilly Library

A guide for students in ENG-L504 to using the archival collections of the Lilly Library


Before visiting the Lilly Library, you will need to create an account in our Online Request System. This allows you to request materials, keep them on hold, and keep track of materials you have used. It also allows us to place digitization orders on your behalf. You may request up to 10 items (books, archival boxes, or other materials) at a time. You can also make requests to review later. The status of the item will tell you when your material has been retrieved and is ready to use.

Although you can request up to 10 items, we ask you to think carefully before doing so. Most archival boxes must be delivered from the ALF (Auxiliary Library Facility) and require the labor of several people at both Lilly and ALF to deliver. One of my challenges to you this semester is to always be aware and respectful of the labor that goes into archival research.

Please bring a photo ID to your first visit to the Reading Room. We will photocopy your ID and keep a copy securely on file. ID check is part of the security necessary to make access to our collections possible. If you have any questions about Lilly security procedures, please let me know and I'll be happy to explain how and why we must have these policies in place.

Making an Appointment

The Lilly Library currently requires that you must make an appointment at least two weeks in advance to use material in the collection. Due to our recent renovation, some materials are difficult to access and some materials are unavailable for use. If the material you request is unavailable, you will receive a cancellation via email. To make an appointment, either:

1) Click the red Ask a Question button on the Lilly Library website and fill out the form provided or

2) Email

Make sure to note in your inquiry that you are in Christoph Irmscher's Literary Archives class. We will do our best to prioritize your questions and Reading Room reservations. if you are under the two week mark, you can still ask but be aware that we may not be able to accomidate you and try to plan ahead as much as possible.

There will be a table (4 seats) reserved for this class every Friday from 2:00-4:00. To use this time, you must be registered as a Library user and already have material on hold (or be using material on hold for the class). You are also free to set up your own recurring appointment if you would like a seat reserved for you at a certain time every week.