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Jean & Alexander Heard Libraries

Special Collections
and University Archives

Visit Us

Reading Room

The Special Collections reading room is open by appointment. To book an appointment, please register for an account through our registration form. Then, contact us by email at to set up an appointment.

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm CST.

About appointments

  • For the security of our collections, the number of researchers allowed in the reading room will be limited. 
  • We follow University protocol to enhance the safety of our spaces.  Face masks are optional.
  • Appointments will be scheduled in two-hour research blocks. You may book up to two sessions per day.
  • Please allow 48-72 hours' notice when making appointments. Many of our materials are shelved offsite and require sufficient time for safe retrieval and access. If you need an exception, contact
  • We are unable to offer on-site photocopying services. You may use your cell phone or a digital camera to take photos (without flash) of materials.

How to make an appointment

  • Register for a patron account using our  registration form.
  • Email us at  to start the conversation about your research needs and to schedule your appointment. Let us know your research topic, what items interest you, and/or if you need help identifying materials. Please tell us if you expect to require multiple visits so we can discuss your options.
  • Do not travel to the library until you’ve received an email confirming your appointment and requests.

On the day of your appointment

  • Please wash and dry your hands thoroughly before entering the reading room. Hand sanitizer will be available, but hands must be completely dry before touching any materials.
  • Researchers will need to present a valid photo ID or Vanderbilt ID at the beginning of each visit.
  • You may bring the following with you into the reading room:
    • Laptop (without bag or sleeve)
    • Cell phone (set to vibrate or silent)
    • Camera
    • Pencils

Before You Arrive

Our materials may only be viewed in the Special Collections reading room in the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries. If you have mobility and/or access concerns, please contact us in advance of your visit and we can help make arrangements, including assistance finding handicapped parking near the library. You may also visit the library’s Accessibility Services page.

Book a Class

Special Collections Librarians are available to provide online instruction and assist in designing assignments using our collections. If you are interested in bringing your class to Special Collections, fill out our  request form, or contact  Teresa Gray  directly.

Where We Are Located

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries is located in downtown Nashville on Vanderbilt’s campus at the corner of 21st Avenue South and Scarritt Place. Special Collections is located on the second floor of the Central Library. Our entrance is located off the second floor gallery, directly across from the Divinity Library.


Our physical address:

419 21st Avenue South

Nashville, TN 37203-2427

For general directions on reaching the Vanderbilt campus from Nashville's major freeways, visit VU's Vicinity Map. If you need detailed driving directions, try visiting Google Maps or call Special Collections at 615-322-2807 for assistance.



Visitor parking is available across the street at the Wesley Place Parking Garage on Scarritt Place. Vanderbilt's Vicinity Map includes written directions to public parking areas on campus, or you may use the Visitor Campus Map. Visit the Office of Traffic and Parking for other campus maps and parking regulations.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Special Collections and University Archives

Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries

Vanderbilt University

419 21st Avenue South

Nashville, TN 37203-2427


Phone: 615-322-2807


Email Vanderbilt University Archives:

Email Special Collections: