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The Special Collections Steinem Reading Room, named in honor of alumna Gloria Steinem '56, is open to everyone.
Smith College Special Collections has developed a set of community agreements that seek to make the ways in which we are all interdependent on and accountable to each other more visible. We expect that researchers will join us in upholding these community agreements just as Special Collections staff will be accountable to researchers and to each other in this ongoing and evolving work. Please read through our community agreements in advance of your visit.
We strongly encourage all visiting researchers to make an appointment to view materials 24 hours in advance.
Book An Appointment
Special Collections is committed to ensuring equal access for all visitors. See Reading Room Accessibility for more information.
Special Collections Reading Room
Neilson Library 307
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton, MA 01063
Directions from Neilson Library's Main Entrance: Enter the main front entrance of Neilson Library, located on the east side of the building that faces Seelye lawn. Move into the first floor Central Hall and then turn right to locate the central elevator. 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. Download a floor-by-floor guide to Neilson Library.
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.
PVTA: The closest PVTA stop is located in front of John M. Greene Hall, which is 600 feet from Neilson Library. This stop serves routes 39, 39E, R42, and B43.
Amtrak: The Northampton train station is less than a mile from Neilson library (approximately a 15 minute walk or 5 minute cab ride). Please note: we have limited, unsecured storage for luggage
Peter Pan and Greyhound: The bus terminals are in separate locations but are each about ½ mile from Neilson Library
When you arrive in our welcome area, you will be greeted by staff and, if you are a visiting researcher, given a keycard for a locker.
In the reading room, we welcome:
We ask that you leave the following items in your locker:
The reading room is not a silent space and a conversational level of speech is welcome. If you need a deeper quiet, we have disposable earplugs for your use, as well as a separate quieter room off of the main reading room. Please do not make or take phone calls in the reading room.
The reading room houses a collection of college-related reference materials, including yearbooks, course catalogues, and issues of the student newspaper. These materials do not require paging.
We have equipment in our reading room for researcher use, including:
Smith College Special Collections encourages the use of personal digital cameras in the Reading Room to photograph materials under the following conditions:
Visitors are welcome to take pictures of the reading room so long as they do not photograph any researchers in the space
The mission, vision and values of Special Collections affirms our primary goal of making collections accessible to anyone with interest. Within these principles, Special Collections also balances long-term care of the materials, intellectual property rights, and issues of privacy and confidentiality. Information about our practices and guidelines, including fees, can be found on Digitization & Use.