Access and Use of Collections

Archives & Special Collections are open to all. The following is intended to help you plan for visiting our facilities and working with our collections.

Planning A Visit

Archives & Special Collections units are located in two places on Western’s campus: 

  • Special Collections is located on the sixth floor of Wilson Library on the north end of campus.
  • The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies and University Archives & Records Management are located in the Goltz-Murray (Washington State Archives) Building on south campus.

Visit our individual unit pages or contact us to find out more about specific research hours or to make an appointment. If you're not sure which unit to contact, you may email or call (360) 650-7534. Questions are welcome any time. 

Some of our programs have extensive information about collections posted in online catalogs and discovery platforms. You may find it helpful to explore and search this information ahead of a visit.

Using Collections

  • Archives & Special Collections materials do not circulate, meaning they must be accessed onsite. 
  • Users will be asked on arrival to sign in on our visitor register and complete a research application form
  • Personal belongings must be secured in building lockers or closets.
  • Pencils, loose-leaf paper, and laptops are allowed in the research room. Other personal items or devices are subject to approval by staff. Food, drink, and tobacco products are not permitted. 
  • Staff will advise on the proper handling of collection materials; for example, how to maintain existing order and minimize wear and tear on fragile items. 
  • Duplicate copies will be made by authorized personnel only. Duplication fees will be assessed on the basis of the posted fee schedule.

Duplication Requests 

  • In many cases it is possible to get copies of collection materials. Staff will determine the feasibility and most suitable method of copying based on the nature, condition and amount of materials requested. Self-service photocopying is not permitted and the use of personal devices for making copies is subject to staff approval. 
  • Many Archives & Special Collections holdings remain subject to copyright and all duplication requests must be in compliance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Code.  
  • Copies are provided for scholarly/research purposes or personal use only. Requests for any other use of materials must be in writing and approved by the Director of Archives & Special Collections or designated staff.  
  • All reproductions of collection materials must be given proper citation as follows: 
    • Collection Title 
    • Department Name 
    • Western Libraries Archives & Special Collections 
    • Western Washington University  
  • The costs of duplication services are based on publicly posted rates and subject to yearly revision. A current fee schedule is available here. Archives & Special Collections accepts credit card payments only.  
  • Staff must approve and document all duplication requests.


  • All reproduction requests for publication or display must be submitted in writing and will require completion of appropriate documentation. 
    • In the majority of cases, permissions requests can be initiated and documented by sending in a completed/signed copy of our Permission to Publish or Display form. This can be mailed to Archives & Special Collections, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123 or an electronic version sent via email to
    • In limited circumstances only - and subject to authorization both by the Director of Archives & Special Collections and through WWU's Contracts Administration - we may enter into a more complex licensing agreement for the use of content in a specific project. Please contact us to discuss your project and to find out more about licensing options and related documentation. 
  • For-profit uses are subject to additional fees per the posted fee schedule
  • Researchers assume all responsibility for any infringement of copyright or publication rights belonging to the author or creator, or their heirs, and/or for communicating with holders of copyright concerning permissions to quote or publish information protected by copyright.