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.

Special Procedures for Fall 2020 Re-Opening

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kislak Center staff are mostly working remotely during the Fall 2020 semester. We will continue to offer expanded digital access to our collections, such as through virtual curator class sessions.

Our focus is on the teaching, learning, and scholarly research needs of the University of Pennsylvania community. To support these needs, we anticipate re-opening the Kislak Center in a limited manner in October, but may move the date later depending on the coronavirus situation. Though re-opened, our primary concern is the health and safety of staff and researchers. Thus, we’ve developed new processes on access to special collections material detailed below. We may amend these processes as the coronavirus situation evolves and adjust access based on staffing levels.

  • Access to the Kislak Center will be by appointment only for University of Pennsylvania faculty, graduate students, and staff with active PennCards. 
  • All requests to consult special collections materials in-person must be submitted at least one week in advance via the Aeon system. After submitting a request, a staff member will contact you.
  • In-person classes are limited to one classroom space with a maximum of five students and one instructor. Sessions must be pre-arranged with Kislak Center staff.
  • The Charles K. MacDonald Reading Room will provide in-person, pre-scheduled access to the collection between 1pm and 4pm during weekdays for up to two concurrent researchers.
  • All in-person events and exhibitions are canceled, but we will attempt to offer virtual options where feasible.

We've implemented a number of health and safety protocols for any on-site individuals:

  • Prior to arrival, monitor and notify us if you have any COVID-19 related symptoms.
  • Upon arrival, you will need to complete the COVID-19 self-examination certification at the Van Pelt Library entry door guard station.
  • If you show COVID-19 symptoms, you will be asked to reschedule your research appointment
  • While on-site, you must wear a CDC-recommended mask (2-ply cloth or surgical-style mask) at all times with no exceptions, follow social distancing rules (at least 6 feet between individuals), and wash your hands before using materials and after breaks.
  • Bring your own paper and sharpened pencil or mechanical pencil if needed.

Additionally, we've implemented the following health and safety protocols at the Kislak Center:

  • Staff are required to wear masks at all times in shared spaces.
  • Staff are required to self-report COVID-19-related symptoms before entering the library building. Staff reporting COVID-19-related symptoms will not enter the building.
  • All materials will be quarantined for 72 hours before and after use.
  • Lockers, tables, and chairs will be disinfected before and after each use.
  • Other high-touch elements such as door handles will be disinfected regularly.
  • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the building.

For more information, please contact: 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.