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Visit Special Collections

All visiting researchers can now access the Special Collections Reading Room by booking an appointment 24 hours in advance. The Reading Room continues to be open on a walk-in basis to Smith students, faculty and staff who are in the campus COVID-19 screening program. Emeriti faculty, Five College students who are registered for a Smith course, Smith research affiliates, and invited guests are also welcome. Masks are required in library buildings; see Library Services During COVID-19 for details.


Welcome to Special Collections. Please see the announcement at the top of the page for current access information. We are open to Smith community members in the campus testing program on a walk-in basis. We are open to all visiting researchers who make an appointment 24 hours in advance.

Book An Appointment


Regular semester hours for the Special Collections Reading Rooms are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. See our Hours page to see the hours for specific days.

Visiting Researchers Appointment Form & Policies

All researchers outside of the Smith campus testing program are required to make an appointment (see button below) to view materials in the Reading Room. All visiting researchers must wear masks and will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to the reference desk staff upon arrival. Smith College defines full vaccination as receiving the primary vaccination course, plus a booster shot for those who are eligible, and two weeks have passed since receiving the last shot for which you are eligible.

We expect that you will delay your visit if you are experiencing any COVID-like symptoms. 

Please note that access to Neilson Library is subject to change as local and campus protocols change. Check the Smith College website for Library Services during COVID-19 before your visit for the most up-to-date information. 

Book An Appointment

Directions & Parking 

The Special Collections Reading Room is located on the third floor of Neilson Library. View the Smith College Campus Map for more information.

Upon arrival at either the main Neilson Library entrance or the Mary Maples Dunn wing entrance, visiting researchers should call the Reading Room staff at 413-585-4035. A staff member will meet you at the door to escort you to the Reading Room.

Special Collections
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive, Northampton, MA

Directions to Neilson Library's Main Entrance
When coming into the front, main entrance of Neilson Library that faces Seelye lawn, move into the first floor Central Hall and then turn right to locate the central elevator behind the staircase. Take this elevator to the third floor. Coming out of the elevator, turn right, then left and follow the signs to the Special Collections Reading Room.

Alternative Route from the Mary Maples Dunn ground floor entrance
When coming from the parking lot beside Alumnae Gymnasium, enter the Neilson Library south entrance (labeled Mary Maples Dunn) on the ground floor. Turn to your left and then to the right, following a long hallway until you come to the Central Hall. Look for the elevator behind the big spiral staircase and take it to the third floor. Coming out of the elevator, turn right, then left and follow the signs to the Special Collections Reading Room.

General Parking Information
Please use our visitor parking spaces around campus and in the parking garage, or seek City of Northampton parking options. Find parking on the campus map.

You may request a campus parking pass 48 hours (Monday through Friday) in advance of your visit from Facilities Management Customer Service. Please complete a request form and the pass will be emailed to you directly for you to print out.

There is also metered parking available on Green Street. The meters accept quarters ($.75/per hour) or you can download the Northampton Parkmobile parking app and pay with a credit card.

Requesting Materials & Access

A small portion of our materials are located off-site and require advance notice for retrieval. Some audiovisual materials without use copies also require advance notice to access due to specialty equipment or the need for reproduction prior to viewing/listening. This may cause a delay in your research. Please contact our staff at to request off-site materials or with questions regarding audiovisual materials. Visit the Reading Room page for more information.

Equal Access

Special Collections is committed to ensuring equal access for all visitors. Researchers needing accommodations beyond what is listed below are welcome to contact our staff at in advance of their visit.

  • Accessible reading room tables
  • Assistive technology devices
  • Gender-neutral, accessible restrooms
  • Dedicated lactation room