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Gates Special Collections Classroom, Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library: Arranging An Instruction Session for Your Class

Information for students and faculty members on finding and using the Gates Special Collections Classroom.

How do I schedule an instruction session for my class?

To arrange an instruction session for your class, send an email to Please provide as much of the following information as you can:

  • course name and number or group name
  • size of group (estimate is fine if exact size isn't yet known)
  • date/time desired for the instruction session (and at least one alternate, if possible)
  • specific collections or materials you're interested in having your class or group engage, if known
  • a syllabus for your Yale course, if available

A staff member from Manuscripts and Archives will respond to your email. Please remember that your class must be engaging with Yale University Library special collections materials in order to hold your class in the Gates Special Collections Classroom.

The classroom is heavily used for instruction, especially during key times in the Yale academic calendar, so please contact us at your earliest convenience to arrange for an instruction session for your class. 

What can a session for my class include?

An instruction session in the Gates Classroom can include any of the following:

  • an introduction to rare and archival materials and other special collections
  • an overview of how to find special collections materials available at Yale University
  • a display of selected special collections items relevant to the topic of your class
  • a hands-on exercise with rare and archival materials from the Yale library's special collections relevant to the topic of your class
  • an opportunity for your students to discuss materials they're discovering that are of interest in the context of your class
  • an introduction to specific skills necessary for research using primary sources (see Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy for ideas about potential learning objectives)

We are happy to work with you to design an instruction session that meets your specific pedagogical goals for the students in your class. We are also happy to assist you in designing an assignment that can be incorporated into an instruction session in the Gates Classroom, or might bring your students to the Manuscripts and Archives reading room to engage with collection materials in more detail.