Access Special Collections

The Penn Libraries’ unique and notable collections items include annotated musical scores, photographs, medieval manuscripts, LGBTQ comic books, and more. Make an appointment to view material in-person in a designated reading room, arrange a class visit or activity, or request digital scans for remote research.

Ask a Question

Have a question about anything Penn Libraries, from the policies of a specific library building to help finding a book or article? Get in touch!

Bioinformatic Resource Services

Access bioinformatics-specific books, e-books, and journals; learn to use bioinformatics databases and tools; and get assistance on your research project. The Penn Libraries' services supplement the work of several Research Cores on campus, such as BIC and ITMAT, that address high-end bioinformatics needs for biomedical researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.


Register and request via Books-by-Mail to have Penn materials shipped to your off-campus home address. The library pays for the outbound shipment. You’ll be responsible for return shipping, or you can return materials to the Van Pelt Library ground floor outside book drop (to the right of the main entrance).

Borrow Equipment

Borrow more than just books! Check out equipment you may need for papers, projects, or research – or that you just want to try out – ranging from audio recording devices, to binoculars, to VR cameras.

Borrow Textbooks

Looking to save on textbook costs? Many required texts are in the Libraries’ collections and you can borrow books for the entire semester.


Search multiple library collections simultaneously – including Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, and the Center for Research Libraries – and request materials. Requests typically arrive in three to five days. Pick them up in one of our library locations or have them delivered to you through Books by Mail.

Copyright Support

What exactly is copyright and how do you get it for your own work? What does it mean when something is under copyright, and how does that affect your teaching and scholarship? Learn more about topics including copyright basics, fair use, public domain, copyright and teaching, plagiarism, and publishing.