Classes in the Kislak Center

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The Kislak Center welcomes and encourages Penn faculty and other instructors to make use of its collections! For general inquiries about the Kislak Center’s collections, please email us at kislak@pobox.upenn.edu.

Guidelines for Single-Class Visits to the Kislak Center

The following guidelines are intended for instructors who wish to plan a single-class visit using special collections in Kislak Center classrooms.

  • Single-class visits to the Kislak Center can take place during weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Exceptions require consultation with Kislak Center staff.
  • Penn faculty and other instructors should make any request for a single-class visit at least one month before the proposed visit. To do so, please contact one of our curators or email us at kislak@pobox.upenn.edu.
  • Once the class visit has been scheduled, instructors should work with a curator to discuss what materials will be displayed. Materials should be requested at least two (2) weeks in advance of the scheduled visit.
  • Instructors must notify their students beforehand that no food or drink is allowed in seminar rooms when special collections are present. This includes chewing gum and water.
  • During the class visit, bags must be left along the sides of the classroom. Students may use pencils, but not pens, to take notes.
  • Instructors and students may use phones or cameras (without flash) to take photos.
  • A designated Kislak Center staff member will stay in the classroom while collections are being used. Students will be encouraged to look at items, but only the designated Kislak Center staff member will handle items, unless special arrangements have been agreed upon with the relevant curator in advance.
  • The maximum number of items that instructors can request for each class visit is 15. Requests for more than 15 items must be reviewed by the curator sponsoring the class or by John Pollack, Curator of Research Services (jpollack@upenn.edu).
  • The maximum number of students allowed in a seminar room at one time is 20. Please consult with the curator sponsoring the class or with John Pollack to accommodate larger classes.

 

Guidelines for Semester-Long Courses Using Special Collections in the Kislak Center

The following guidelines are intended for instructors who wish to plan semester-long courses using special collections in Kislak Center classrooms.

  • Penn faculty and other instructors should request to schedule a course in the Kislak Center a semester in advance, when the academic department is scheduling the course. To do so, please contact John Pollack, Curator of Research Services, at jpollack@upenn.edu. This initial conversation will also be an opportunity to consider what special collections might be consulted during the course.  Further discussions with curatorial staff about the course outline and collection use will likely be necessary. Note: Although we try to accommodate as many semester-long classes using special collections as we can, classrooms are not always available for every request. 
  • Once a semester-long course has been scheduled, Kislak Center staff will create an “Activity” in the instructor’s Aeon research account. Instructors may use Penn Libraries’ catalog to request specific special collections, and Kislak Center staff will provide instructions for doing so.
  • Instructors should begin requesting materials for their courses as soon as possible before each class session. The earlier an instructor can supply a list of requested items, the more likely the materials will be available when needed. Instructors are advised to make collection requests preferably 3 weeks, and a minimum of 1 week, in advance of each class. Instructors should be aware that materials may be unavailable for a number of reasons, and that all requests are subject to curatorial approval.
  • Materials can be used for courses on weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Requests to use materials in courses at other times require curatorial approval.
  • Instructors must notify their students beforehand that no food or drink is allowed in seminar rooms when special collections are present. This includes chewing gum and water.
  • During the class visit, bags must be left along the sides of the classroom. Students may use pencils, but not pens, to take notes.
  • Instructors and students may use phones or cameras with no flash to take photos.
  • A designated Kislak Center staff member will stay in the classroom while collections are being used. Students will be encouraged to look at items, but only the designated Kislak Center staff member will handle items, unless special arrangements have been agreed upon with the relevant curator in advance.
  • The maximum number of items that instructors can request for each class session is 15. Requests for more than 15 items must be reviewed by John Pollack or the curator sponsoring the class.
  • Class size for semester-length courses is limited to the number of students that can sit comfortably in our seminar rooms (generally no more than 20, and preferably fewer).

 

Individual Follow-up Visits to the Reading Room

  • Regular hours for the Charles K. MacDonald Reading Room in the Kislak Center are weekdays from 10:00 am to 4:45 pm (Wednesday evenings until 7:45 pm during the academic year). Hours may vary during holiday periods. Full Reading Room hours.
  • Student researchers must register for a Special Collection Research account.
  • Students will also need to sign in at the reading room reception desk upon arrival.
  • Students will be expected to comply with Kislak Center reading room policies. Food and drink are prohibited in the reading room, as are phone calls. Students are welcome to use their laptops and digital or cell phone cameras.
  • Kislak Center staff are available to answer questions concerning the collections and to assist with citing special collections materials.
  • Teachers who wish to consult with students about special collections materials may do so in small study rooms located in the Reading Room. Please consult with April James, Reader Services Librarian, to make advance arrangements for consultations.