SCUA Collections

Using the Collections

Our collections are available for research to San Diego State University students, faculty, staff, and to the general public; no affiliation with San Diego State is required. Collections do not circulate outside of the department, and are consulted in our Reading Room (located on the 1st floor of Love Library). Our staff is happy to help you in identifying and requesting materials when you arrive; for specialized or in-depth reference assistance involving our collections, please contact us.

Before using the collections, we ask that you review the following guidelines.

  • Food and beverages are not permitted in the Reading Room.
  • Please silence your cell phone or pager while visiting Special Collections and University Archives.
  • Coats, bags, purses, and other personal belongings are not allowed in the Reading Room. Please stow these items in the storage shelves at the front of the room.
  • Please use pencil only in the Reading Room. Pencils are provided at the Reference Desk. Please do not use post-it notes or other sticky notes.
  • All researchers must fill out a Researcher Agreement in order to use the materials in Special Collections and University Archives.
  • Please respect other researchers by keeping your voice or device/music to a low level.
  • We will stop paging materials 15 minutes before the department closes for the day.
  • Special Collections and University Archives materials do not circulate outside the department.
  • To page materials, please see the Reference Desk attendant.
  • Only 4 boxes or books may be requested at a time.
  • Please handle all items with care. Please do not mark, fasten together, or alter materials in any way. When in doubt about proper handling, please consult Reading Room staff.
  • All materials must remain on the surface of the table. When appropriate, readers may be asked to place books and bound manuscripts on book rests or cradles, use weights to hold books open, or wear protective gloves.
  • If you have paged boxes from a manuscript collection, you may only have one box open at a time. When removing a folder, use a box marker to hold its place. Please have only one folder out at a time, and when browsing through the folder, turn only one page at a time. When you have finished with the folder, return it to its correct spot in the box before pulling the next folder.
  • The exact arrangement of unbound materials (papers within folders, folders within boxes) must be maintained.
  • Please leave materials at your table when you are finished working, and inform staff that you are ready to depart.
  • Use Duplication Tabs to mark documents you would like to copy.
  • All materials that you wish to copy must be shown to staff for review and approval before you use the self-service BookEye scanner or take photographs. Please do not use a flash. Particularly fragile or damaged items will be copied for you by our staff. Some items may not allow for duplication.
  • Digital cameras are permitted in the Reading Room. All flashes must be turned off. Please silence your camera if possible. Materials must be flagged, reviewed, and approved as for other duplications before photography begins.

Print Collections

Special Collections holds over 80,000 printed volumes.  Some of our collecting strengths include:

Manuscript and Archival Collections

Special Collections holds over 500 manuscript and archival collections. Over 400 of these have been fully processed and made available to the public .  View some of our primary source material in this YouTube Video .  Particular subject strengths include:

University Archives

University Archives documents the history of San Diego State University. Listed here are a few of our university-related holdings:

Graphic and Ephemera Collections

Special Collections holds many graphic and ephemera collections which include artwork, prints, broadsides, drawings, postcards, comics, zines, sheet music, bookplates, and magic lantern slides. Collections of note include:

Digital Collections

Several collections from our holdings have been digitized and are available in Digital Collections. These collections include:

Contact Us

Special Collections & University Archives
Love Library, Room 150