We welcome inquiries from all users, regardless of affiliation. Researchers can get in touch with Special Collections reference professionals using the contact us form on our website. Staff are also available Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm via telephone (843-953-8016) and email (specialcollections@cofc.edu). Researchers can also explore collections via our Discovery Service, the Lowcountry Digital Library, or through various Research Guides

Access to the Special Collections and South Carolina Historical Society Archives Reading Room

The Special Collections and the South Carolina Historical Society Archives Reading Room is open by appointment only. At this time, face coverings and masks are recommended but not required in the reading room.

General Information

  • All in-person research will be by appointment only. Walk-in appointments will not be permitted.
  • Occupancy o the Reading Room is socially-distanced and limited.

Pre-visit: Research Consultations and Appointment Scheduling

  • To submit a request for research or an on-site appointment, contact Special Collections at https://speccoll.cofc.edu/about/contact-us/.  Be prepared to include the following information:
    • What topic are you researching?
    • What information do you want to find?
    • A preliminary list of collections/items do you wish to consult/access? If possible, please provide the title, call number, or any other additional information relating to your request.  
  • If staff determine that in-person research is necessary, we will reserve one or more appointment slots for you. Staff will also follow up with you via email to consult and finalize the list of collections/items you will be examining on-site. Pulling materials “spur-of-the-moment” during in-person appointments cannot be guaranteed.
  • Please note that appointments must be scheduled a minimum of 1 business day in advance of the visit.
  • Occupancy in the Reading Room is socially-distanced and limited.
    • Only one researcher per appointment slot will be permitted. Appointment intervals are 3 hours each (9:00 – 12:00 and 1:00 – 4:00)
    • There is time allotted after each appointment interval for staff to disinfect high-touch surfaces and patron workspaces.
    • A researcher may schedule consecutive sessions. However, researchers with consecutive scheduled sessions will be required to leave the Reading Room between the hours of 12:00pm – 1:00 pm.
  • All researchers must complete a pre-registration process prior to arrival on-site. Archives staff will share this with researchers once their appointment is confirmed.

During the Visit

  • Guidelines for safety, order, and collections handling must be followed at all times.
  • All patrons with confirmed in-person research appointments will be required to comply with all safety and security guidelines established by the College of Charleston, the College of Charleston Libraries, Special Collections, and the South Carolina Historical Society. These guidelines will be sent to researchers via email prior to their appointment. Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in the immediate termination of the research appointment and the request for the researcher to leave. If you are not feeling well or are otherwise unable to keep your appointment, please respect everyone’s safety and contact our staff to cancel or reschedule your appointment.  
  • Researchers not currently affiliated (student, faculty, staff) with the College of Charleston will be provided with a confirmation email prior to their appointment. Please be prepared to show proof of that confirmation email to public safety when entering the building (either printed out or be able to pull the e-mail up on your mobile device).