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Getting Started

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The Kenneth Spencer Research Library - home to the University of Kansas's University Archives, Kansas Collection and Special Collections - is open to the public. We welcome University of Kansas students, faculty, and staff as well as visiting researchers and members of the community. We provide research services for both visitors to our Marilyn Stokstad Reading Room and for remote users.

No appointment is necessary to use the collections.

Registering/Creating a User Account

Researchers seeking to access materials at Spencer Research Library are required to fill out a registration form in our automated circulation system, Aeon. This can be done at home prior to a visit to the library or at the library's reception desk once you arrive. Please note that all first-time researchers at the Library will need to present photo identification upon their arrival, even if they have completed the registration form at home.

To create a new researcher/user account, go to the main Aeon page on the Spencer website and click on “First Time Users,” located under the username and password boxes on the left. You’ll then need to complete the registration form and then hit “submit.”

Once you’ve set up your account, you can return to it at any time by going to the link above or the Spencer website; most pages, including the homepage, have a link to Aeon in the upper right corner, under the top navigation menu, in the box titled “For Researchers.”

The video tutorial below will assist you in registering to use Spencer Library materials by creating an account in Aeon.



Requesting Library Materials

You may begin placing requests for Library materials once you have created a user account. To do this, first log in to your Aeon account. Next, find "New Request" listed on the left-hand menu and click on "Reading Room Use." You'll then need to complete "New Request" forms for the materials you want to see.

You can request materials from home prior to a visit to the Library, or a Spencer reference librarian can assist you with this process once you arrive.

If you’re working from the KU Libraries online catalog: Go to the bottom of a catalog record for a Spencer item, under the heading “Location.” You’ll click on “Get at Spencer,” which will direct you to log in to your Aeon account. The system will automatically populate the title and call number fields for you, although you may want to review the information before clicking “submit,” at the bottom of the page.

If you’re working from a Spencer finding aid: You’ll need to log in to your Aeon account from a separate browser tab or window and retype – or copy and paste – the collection title and call number into the appropriate fields. Keep in mind that some collections have multiple call numbers, so be sure you’re using the correct one for the materials you want to see. Also, if a collection contains more than one box, you’ll need to list which boxes you want to see when completing your Aeon request.

Keep in mind the following points when completing and submitting requests in Aeon:

  1. You’ll need to submit separate requests for each call number. You can include multiple boxes from an archival collection within a single request, as long as they’re consecutive (e.g. Boxes 6-8 could be submitted as one request; Box 6 and 8 would need to be two requests).
  2. You can review (and edit, delete, etc.) your current and past requests by logging in to your Aeon account, and that information will continue to be available to you indefinitely.
  3. Even if you submit your requests ahead of time, Spencer staff members won’t retrieve the actual items from the stacks until you arrive at the library.
  4. We can bring one full book truck to a patron at a time. If you’ll be looking at a large quantity of materials, you may want to prioritize them before you come so that we can pull them in smaller groupings in the order in which you want to see them.
  5. The vast majority of the Library's collections are housed in the building, but some materials are stored off-site at an Annex facility. Contact Stacks and Operations Manager Meredith Huff (huffme@ku.edu) if you need to use materials stored at the Annex, and please allow one or two working days for them to be delivered to Spencer.

The video tutorial below will assist you in requesting materials using Aeon.



Using Library Materials

Materials from Spencer collections must be used in the Reading Room. The Library's procedures are designed to ensure the safety and preservation of our materials for future generations.

  • Leave any food or beverages outside the Library.
  • Place your personal items (coats, purses, backpacks, and bags) in a locker.
  • Spencer lockers are not approved secured storage for handguns. Individuals who choose to carry a concealed handgun must plan their day accordingly and transfer their handgun to an approved secured storage device in their vehicle or residence before arriving to use these lockers. For more information visit http://concealedcarry.ku.edu.
  • All researchers must check in at the third-floor reception desk before proceeding to the Reading Room. First-time researchers will be asked to show photo identification and create a user account, if they have not done so already.
  • Materials from our collections are not retrieved from the shelf until the patron who requested them physically arrives at the Library.
  • Items identified as being at the Library Annex, our offsite storage facility, need to be requested two working days in advance.
  • Handle all materials with care. If the materials you request require special handling, Library staff will assist you.
  • Use a pencil or computer to take notes. Laptop computers are available for checkout and use in the Reading Room.
  • Silence your cell phone or turn it off.
  • Library staff will review your requests for photocopies, self-service scanning or digital photography; some materials may not be safely copied.
  • Any materials you take into the Reading Room will be examined by Library staff when you leave.

Video Tutorial

Please note that, as of the Spring 2014 semester, our Saturday hours have changed. We are now open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm when KU classes are in session.



Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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