Skip to Main Content

Using the Rolvaag Library Special Collections

Guide to using special collections materials and collection descriptions

Finding Materials in Catalyst

Whether you are researching for a class or are just curious to see what we have, here are a few tips for narrowing your search to Special Collections materials.


A quick way to narrow your search is to use the Refine My Results sidebar in Catalyst. Scroll until you reach Special Collections, expand the menu and then select St. Olaf Special Collections. Your results will now be limited to what material is in our Special Collections.




screen capture of publication date filter

Also helpful is Publication Date. By clicking on the numbers, you can change the dates to a desired date range.



screen capture of relevance search filter


Or if you are unsure of a date range, at the top of the page under sort by you can change your sort to Date-oldest to display your results in date order.

Using Materials

To use our materials, you will need to schedule an appointment with us. We accept appointments Monday-Thursday, 9:00am-4:00pm. You can request an appointment to view materials from the St. Olaf Special Collections through the catalog by selecting "Make an Appointment". Be sure to copy down the call number, title, and author of the item(s) you'd like to view before you navigate away from the page; the form does not automatically populate these fields!

screen capture of make an appointment to view in St. Olaf Special Collections

In order to best care for our collections and to continue providing access to these materials, we ask you to follow our reading room rules.

  • Materials do not leave the library, and must be used in our specially designated area, and under the supervision of a Special Collections staff member.
  • Absolutely no food or liquids of any kind on or around the designated area.
  • You will be asked to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling items.
  • Book cradles should be used as directed by library staff.
  • The use of pens is not permitted, but pencils and laptops may be used for making notes. Pencils are available for patrons to use.
  • Bags and coats may not be brought into the designated area. Library staff will make arrangements for securely storing your personal items while you work with the materials.
  • We do not provide photocopying or other kinds of reproduction services, but with the permission of our Special Collections staff, patrons may take photos of materials using their own smart phones or cameras.
  • Permission to take photographs may be denied depending on the fragility and condition of the item.
  • Follow all other rules for use as described by library staff.