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Finding Materials

Archives and Special Collections consists of books and archival collections.

Books from Special Collections are individually catalogued and are listed in the library’s main catalogue, along with all the books in the library’s general collection.  Books can be searched through a dedicated book search or by using the Classic Catalogue. You may wish to use the advanced search feature in order to refine your search criteria. Books held in Special Collections will show “SPC - Centre for Arts and Culture Reading Room (5 TFDL)” as the location in the catalogue.

 Archival collections are described in dedicated finding aids, usually arranged by name of the creator of the materials. Print finding aids are available in the Reading Room. Descriptive information and finding aids are also available in our archival database

A browsable list of archival fonds by subject is available. Our archival materials are divided into literary, art, music, recreational mathematics, and historical archives. 

Handling Rare Materials

Since many of the items housed in Archives and Special Collections are rare, unique or fragile, special care must be taken when handling them. The co-operation of researchers is requested in order to preserve the materials. All of the materials are non-circulating and may only be used in the Reading Room.

Staff in the Reading Room will be happy to advise you on proper handling of rare items. 

Please note: 

  • Coats, bags and briefcases are to be stored in the lockers provided.
  • Only pencils are used for note-taking in the Reading Room. 
  • Cell phones, tablets and laptops are permitted. 
  • Eating and drinking are not permitted.
  • Cotton gloves (supplied) may be required for the handling of some materials.
  • Books must be placed flat on the table or be supported on a bookstand. Book weights for holding pages open are available in the Reading Room.
  • Archival materials must be kept in the order in which they are placed in a folder and must not be re-arranged or removed from the folder.

Reading Room


Archives and Special Collections is located in Suite 520 of the Taylor Family Digital Library. 

Turn left as you exit the elevator on the 5th floor, and walk all the way to the south end of the floor.  

If you are unfamiliar with the Taylor Family Digital Library, please consult the campus map. The Taylor Family Digital Library (building code: TFDL) is located in the centre of the Main Campus of the University of Calgary.


The Reading Room is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. 

Summer hours (July 4, 2017  to September 1, 2017) are 11:00 am to 4:30, Monday through Friday. 

Regular hours resume on September 5, 2017. 

Requesting Materials

For general inquiries, or to request materials to be brought to the Reading Room for you, please send us a message at the following addresses: 

If you are not sure which email address to use, write to

Books, archival and other special materials held in Archives and Special Collections are available for consultation in the Reading Room. Items cannot be borrowed or consulted in any other location. 


Materials held in Archives and Special Collections need to be retrieved from storage vaults and may be held in another campus facility. We ask that researchers kindly provide us with a minimum of one day's notice regarding which books or archival materials they require. 

Most requests received by 3:00 pm will be ready for the following morning when the Reading Room opens at 10:00 am.

If you are planning to consult a higher volume of materials (e.g. multiple boxes of archival materials) please let us know in advance, and we will work with you. 


While the majority of records are available for research, some materials that you request may be restricted.  Any restrictions will be noted in the fonds level record available through our archival database.  If you are requesting records from the permanent corporate record of the University Archives, note that the corporate record is restricted for 15 years from date of creation as per the Freedom of Information/Protection of Privacy Act

In the case of any access restrictions, it may be possible to access the records via a Researcher Agreement – contact Archives & Special Collections for more details.

Visiting from out of town

If you are planning a research trip to Archives and Special Collections at the University of Calgary, please contact us ahead of time so we can prepare collection items and materials for your visit. 

Archives and Special Collections is located in the Taylor Family Digital Library, in the heart of the University of Calgary's main campus. 

Our reading room is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 am - 4:30 pm. 

Calgary Accommodation (close to the University)

If you require on-campus accommodation, the Hotel Alma is only a 5-minute walk to/from the Taylor Family Digital Library. 

Other nearby hotel and motel accommodation is available:

Parking on Campus
The campus parking lot nearest to the Taylor Family Digital Library is The Art Parkade, a 5-story structure with 1260 stalls on the south side of the main campus.See the campus parking map for more details. 

Public Transportation
The University of Calgary is served by light rail transit (The C Train). The main campus LRT station is "University," located on the East side of campus. Regular fare is $3.15. 

Buses 9, 19, 20, and 72 have on-campus stops.  Regular fare is $3.15.