Special Collections and Rare Books houses rare and unique materials that span over four thousand years. The collections include books, maps, posters, pamphlets, comics, artwork, artifacts, personal papers, and over 8 million titles on microform. Many of these materials are valuable primary sources.
The materials in Special Collections are here because they are fragile, one-of-a-kind, and they have lasting value for research. Because of this, the procedures for using books and other materials are a little different from what you may be used to in libraries. This guide will walk you through the process of finding and requesting materials in Special Collections.
From "What is a Primary Source?" http://www.princeton.edu/~refdesk/primary2.html.
Here's a step-by-step guide to requesting materials from Special Collections to use in your research.
If at all possible, please register as a Special Collections user in advance. Online registration form
Bring a photo ID! Your MU student ID or a driver's license will be fine.
Most materials can't be checked out, but you can put them on hold in the reading room.
Allowed at the reading tables: pencils, paper, laptop computers, mobile devices (silenced), and cameras. You'll be asked to store your backpack, coat, and other personal belongings elsewhere.
You can take pictures with your phone or a camera. But remember - no flash! Special Collections staff can make photos or scans for you for a fee.