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Access to collections

Archival documents, rare books, and other collection materials do not circulate and are available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room, located at the Vanier Library on the Loyola Campus (VL-121).

Please consult our opening hours and contact us via phone (514-848-2424 ext. 7762) or e-mail ( to make an appointment or to learn more about our holdings.

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Visiting Special Collections

All archival material and rare books must be consulted on site in the Library’s Special Collections Reading Room (VL 121-1).

The Reading Room is open from Monday to Friday by appointment only to Concordia-affiliated researchers (students, faculty, and staff), the wider research community, and the general public.

To ensure that you have the time you need to conduct your research, please arrive at your designated appointment time. Bring only with you what you need to conduct your work. Coats, bags, and other belongings must be placed in one of the lockers provided.

Making an appointment

Contact Special Collections at at least 3 working days in advance of your desired appointment and let a staff member know what materials you would like to see and when. If you are not sure what would like to consult, a staff member will help guide you and provide you with the tools necessary to learn what is available. Walk-in users cannot be accommodated at this time.

Once you have identified what you would like to see, Special Collections staff will schedule your appointment.

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Viewing materials

  • Special Collections material may not be removed from the Reading Room. Materials in Special Collections are not available for regular loan, course reserve, interlibrary loans, holds, or inter-campus delivery.
  • Normally, up to six physical volumes or boxes will be made available during a single visit. Only one volume or box may be consulted at a time. Special Collections staff may limit the number of items being viewed at any one time according to available study space.
  • Materials must be handled carefully and consultation guidelines respected. Materials must be returned to Special Collections Staff in the same condition and order as received.
  • Bring only what you need to take notes into the Reading Room. Leave coats, bags, and other items in the lockers provided.
  • No food or drink is permitted in the Reading Room.
  • Pencils or laptops may be used when viewing material. No pens or highlighters may be used in the Reading Room.
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Handling of archival documents and rare books

  • Handle all materials with care.
  • When possible, handle the enclosure or the container instead of the document.
  • Do not lean on documents, books, enclosures, or boxes.
  • Do not place your note pad or electronic equipment on top of collection materials.
  • Support fragile bindings by using book-rests; do not lay books flat on the table.
  • If necessary, use small padded weights to hold down the pages so that they may be read without contacting your skin.
  • Photographs, audio-visual items, and other fragile material will require the use of lint free gloves.
  • Maintain the existing order of the materials in each folder. Do not reorganize or reclassify archival materials.
  • Remove only one folder from a box at a time.
  • Realign documents prior to putting them back into the file folder. Do this by manually aligning the papers not by tapping them on the desk.
  • Do not mark pages with sticky notes. Use the flags provided.
  • Do not dirty or annotate documents.
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  • Special Collections materials are fragile and can be damaged through excessive exposure to light from photocopiers or scanners. Researchers are urged to request reproductions only if absolutely necessary.
  • The reproduction of Special Collections materials is allowed for personal or scholarly purposes. Permission to reproduce collection items does not free users from obtaining permission from copyright owners if the material is not in the public domain.
  • Researchers are responsible for securing copyright clearance for publication or commercial purposes.
  • All copying by Special Collections staff is done within the limitations of the Copyright Act and in accordance to Concordia University’s Policy on Copyright Compliance (SG-2). Charges may apply.
  • Personal photography is permitted for scholarly or personal use only. Personal photography is not allowed when the images are intended for publication, in print or on the web, exhibitions, or for use in film. Images intended for these purposes must be ordered through Special Collections staff.
  • Permission to photograph is dependent on the condition of the item, copyright, and donor agreements and must be approved in advance by Special Collections staff. Personal photography must always be done within the limitations of the Copyright Act and in accordance to Concordia University’s Policy on Copyright Compliance (SG-2).
  • Special Collections staff reserves the right to limit how many personal photographs are taken. Requests to photograph substantial parts of individual works or collections, including entire collections, will be denied.
  • Cameras, including handhelds, cell phones, and tablets, are permitted for use with the flash disabled. Additional equipment, such as lighting and tripods, is not permitted.
  • Special Collections staff reserves the right to limit the number of copies provided. Normally, up to 30 personal photographs, photocopies, and low resolution scans (PDFs) can be taken or provided per visit, with a 30-day limit of 100 reproductions. Higher resolution scans (JPEG and TIFF; 300 dpi and above) are limited to 15 per visit, with a 30-day limit of 30 reproductions. All requests for reproductions may take up to 5 business days to process.
  • All users who request copies or will be taking personal photographs are required to sign an Image Use Agreement.
  • Materials subject to restrictions on reproduction, determined either by the Library, the donor, or by copyright law, may not be reproduced by Library staff or personal photography. Fragile materials are not available for reproduction.
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Reproduction requests

Photocopies or scans will be provided for free for scholarly and non-commercial purposes within copying limits.

For audiovisual use, film production, commercial publications, and other commercial purposes, reproduction and use fees will be charged. The following charges apply for the reproduction of Special Collections materials in these cases.

Printing and photocopy fees

Format Black and white Colour
8.5 x 11 $ 0.10 $ 0.25
8.5 x 14 $ 0.10 $ 0.25
11 x 17 $ 0.20 $ 0.50

*Prices listed above are per image or document page. An Image Use Agreement must be signed.

Scanning fees

Format 0-50 images 51-100 images 101+ images
Low resolution
300 dpi or lower,
format: .jpg
$ 10 / image $ 7.50 / image $ 5 / image
High resolution
600 dpi and higher,
format: .jpg, .tiff, .png
$ 15 / image $ 11.50 / image $ 7.50 / image

*Prices listed above are per image or document page. An Image Use Agreement must be signed.

User fees

Use Price
Scholarly publication and exhibition Scanning fees only
Commercial publication (book, magazine) Scanning fees + $ 15 / image
Audiovisual use, film production
and other commercial use
Scanning fees + $ 50 / image

*An image use agreement must be signed.

Other fees

Use Price
Reproduction of audiovisual documents
(film or sound recording)
$ 1 / minute*
CD or DVD $ 1 each
Shipping fees $ 1 / envelope + Canada Post shipping fees

*An image use agreement must be signed.

Methods of payment

  • Cash
  • Cheque payable to Concordia University

Processing time

  • Special Collections is committed to processing your order within 5 business days. A staff member will be in contact if there is any additional delay.

Additional information

  • All copying is done by Special Collections staff within the limitations of the Copyright Act.
  • Prices in Canadian dollar (CAD).
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Photocopies, low resolution scans (PDFs), and personal photographs are limited to 30 per visit, with a 30-day limit of 100 reproductions (document pages).
  • Higher resolution scans (JPEG and TIFF; 300 dpi and above) are limited to 15 per visit, with a 30-day limit of 30 reproductions.
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Material in Special Collection is subject to the Canadian Copyright Act. Please see the Copyright Guide.

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