Prepare for an Online Visit in Spring 2021

Last Updated February 8, 2021

As part of the University Libraries’ Spring 2021 Plan, Wilson Library is closed to the public. We have expanded on the remote services we have provided since March with limited staff on-site to support remote reference and instruction services and to digitize materials for our users.

Access to Special Collections Materials

Users will be able to request digital reference copies of special collections materials they wish to consult. Researchers may begin their access request with a research consultation by writing to or scheduling an appointment with a librarian. If a researcher knows exactly what materials they would like to consult, they can request copies by submitting an order using their research account.

The availability of digital reference copies is subject to copyright, the condition of the materials requested and usage restrictions.

If we are unable to meet your research needs through our digitization program, we may be able to assist you with our by-appointment research room service.  Please see our Limited Appointment-Only page for more details.


Research and Instructional Services librarians are available to provide remote synchronous and asynchronous online instruction sessions with special collections materials. Contact us to discuss your teaching and learning needs. Request an instruction session using this online form. For sample lessons, visit the Teaching with Special Collections page.

Our teaching and learning services include:

  • consultations with instructors about possible assignments and lessons using primary sources;
  • online displays of relevant special collections materials;
  • virtual activities in which students observe, analyze and interpret primary sources;
  • guided discussions about a set of primary sources related to the course topic or theme;
  • semester-long engagements in which students curate a virtual exhibition; and
  • special collections research guides.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Wilson Special Collections Library Services

How can I access special collections materials?

While the building is closed to the public, we are providing virtual reference assistance, digital reference copy ordering and and a limited, appointment-only access alternative. Contact us or write to

Can I order scans of special collections materials?

You may request limited reproductions of collection materials through your user account. We are currently working to provide a limited number of free copies for research, academic and noncommercial purposes. Note that copying services may not be available for some materials and can only be done as conditions and restrictions allow. Visit our Request Copies page for more information.

Can I acquire publication-quality images from Wilson Library’s collections?

Yes, you can make a photoduplication request through your user account and indicate that you need to publish the item.

I need to consult a whole archival collection to effectively do my research; what are my options?

Contact us to explore options for large-scale digitization, remote research, or our limited, by-appointment research room service.

My class needs to use special collections materials this semester. What can I do to provide high-quality instruction experiences?

Our instruction librarians have adapted lesson plans to teaching virtually with special collections materials. Request an instruction session through this online form.

Can I check out North Carolina Collection circulating materials?

Yes, request items through their catalog records using your Onyen or borrower’s card credentials. For more information about Davis Library’s pickup service, visit this FAQ page.

Wilson Special Collections Library Spaces

Can I visit Wilson Library?

For the health and safety of our patrons and staff, the Wilson Library building is closed to the public until further notice. Our research room is available on a limited basis by appointment.

Can I make an appointment with the Library to do my research in person?

While the Research Room is closed, we are seeking to deliver digital content to all users to meet their research needs. Currently we can provide a limited number of scans of special collections materials and we are developing ways to expand our digitization services. Visit our Request Copies page for more information. If we are unable to meet your research needs through this digitization program, please refer to information about our limited by-appointment research room service

Can I study in the Fearrington Reading Room or the Wilson Library lobby?

All parts of Wilson Library are currently closed to the public. Limited and designated areas within Davis Library and the Health Sciences Library will be open for use beginning August 3. If you choose to visit one of those spaces, please review the policies for entering Library buildings.

Can I schedule a meeting or an event in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room?

Groups from outside the University Libraries may not reserve or use meeting rooms in any Library facility for in-person, non-instructional events.

Can I visit your exhibitions?

While the building, including its galleries, remains closed to the public, there are virtual exhibitions you can access online. Our most recent exhibition, “Climbing the Hill: Women in the History of UNC,” was student curated and focuses on women’s experiences at UNC. You can find more digital exhibitions on our Digital Collections page.

Contact us for more information about Wilson Library’s available services: