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Researching with Archival & Special Collections Primary Source Materials

The Mahn Center

The Mahn Center for Archives & Special Collections, located on the 5th floor of Alden Library, is open to anyone and everyone. Whether or not you have any affiliation with Ohio University, and whether you are doing research for school, work, family, or just pursuing a personal interest, everyone is always welcome to access and use our resources. We will always respond to email, chat, or phone questions. During the hours when our doors are open, anyone can walk in and request materials or ask questions. We do, however, suggest you contact us ahead of time so that we can be better prepared to assist you.

View of a group of visitors (pre-pandemic) examining materials in the Mahn Center Reading Room

Image shows the Mahn Center Reading Room (pre-pandemic) with visitors gathered around tables examining materials

You may have heard that there are a lot of rules when you visit the Mahn Center, or any other archive or special collection. There are some, but they exist only to protect and preserve the materials. We cannot replace the rare and unique materials we have in archives and special collections, so a big part of our job includes avoiding accidental damage or loss. That's why you can't have food or drink, or use pens, or keep bags, coats, or umbrellas with you when you're in the reading room. And that's also why we have a reading room.

A key difference between the Mahn Center and much of the rest of the library is that our materials do not circulate. No one can check them out or take them home. On the other hand, we have a lovely reading room, which is simply a space where you are invited to physically access the materials in our collections.

We also have secure lockers where you can store your belongings while you're in the reading room.

Things you can bring into the reading room:

  • paper
  • pencil
  • notebook
  • laptop/tablet
  • camera/phone to use as a camera (no flash)
  • your curiosity

Quick poll!

When do you plan on visiting or contacting the Mahn Center?
Right now!: 1 votes (20%)
As soon as possbile: 2 votes (40%)
Maybe someday: 1 votes (20%)
Not sure: 0 votes (0%)
Never: 1 votes (20%)
Total Votes: 5