Research and information services

Special Collections & Archives provides research and information services to University of Waterloo students, faculty, and staff, as well as to visiting scholars and the general public. 

Appointments are not required, but researchers are encouraged to contact us  in advance of their visit. Doing so gives staff time to evaluate each researcher’s needs and ensure that the requested material is ready when the researcher arrives for their visit.

Access policy

Material housed in Special Collections & Archives does not circulate and can only be used in the Doris Lewis Reading Room. Please note that access to some archival material is restricted. Scanning and reproduction is granted on a case by case basis.

Researchers who wish to consult the University of Waterloo Archives must contact us.

Visiting the Archives

Our holdings are unique and irreplaceable. To ensure the longevity and security of our collections we ask that the following rules be observed:

  • All researchers present an appropriate piece of identification such as a valid library card, student card or driver’s licence. Researchers must complete a "Reader Registration” form.
  • Coats and bags must be left in the secure storage lockers provided on-site.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in the Doris Lewis Reading Room.
  • Pens, highlighters or mechanical pencils are prohibited. Please use the pencils provided for use in the Doris Lewis Reading Room.
  • All material must be handled with clean hands and with care. Staff will advise researchers about the appropriate way to handle the collection being consulted.
  • The order of files in archival collections is to be maintained.
  • Each researcher is responsible for material signed out in their name until it is returned to a Special Collections & Archives staff member.

How to cite Special Collections & Archives material

Basic credit should be provided as follows:

University of Waterloo Library. Special Collections & Archives. FONDS/COLLECTION NAME.


University of Waterloo Library. Special Collections & Archives. Kitchener-Waterloo Record Photographic Negative Collection.

Special Collections & Archives staff can provide assistance with more detailed citation formats upon request.


Reproduction policy

Our policy is to digitize primary resources in a manner that most accurately reflects their current condition. Photo editing including photo cropping, lightening or darkening are not services we provide.

Scanning and reproduction is granted on a case by case basis, and researchers are required to comply with these conditions regarding requests for reproduction.

Reproduction fees may apply. Associated scanning costs and timelines will be provided before any reproduction work begins.


Researchers may use our book2net kiosk overhead scanner to digitize material from Special Collections & Archives for research and private study purposes on a case by case basis. Restrictions may apply due to the physical condition of the material, associated copyright law, or donor restrictions.

Researchers must provide their own flash drive or memory key.

Digital Cameras

The use of a digital camera or camera enabled device (e.g., tablet or smart phone) is allowed at the discretion of Special Collections & Archives staff and in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Photographs must be for the purpose of research or private study only.
  • Researchers must complete a Request for Reproduction form.
  • The use of flash, audio recording tools, tripods, or personal scanners is prohibited.
  • Material must be handled properly and with care.
  • Photographing staff or other researchers is prohibited.
  • Researchers are responsible for keeping complete citations for all material photographed.

Special Collections & Archives staff reserves the right to deny or revoke permission to use digital cameras at any time.


Photocopying services are available on a case-by-case basis.

The following photocopying fees may apply:

  • Letter sized black and white photocopies and PDFs = $0.30 per page
  • Letter sized colour photocopies = $1.00 per page
  • Requests to copy 75 pages or more will be charged the cost of copies plus $15.00 per hour copying time.

Associated photocopying costs and timelines will be provided before any reproduction work begins.


Special Collections & Archives is committed to student success and our collections reflect the goals of the University’s major teaching and research programs. We are happy to support in-class or in-library instruction.

Examples of faculty and department collaborations include:

Please contact Nick Richbell, Head, Special Collections & Archives to discuss how we can work together to help students discover the fulfillment of using primary source materials.


Individual and group tours can be arranged by contacting Nick Richbell, Head, Special Collections & Archives.

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Common questions


Local history and genealogy


The library has moved all of its reference online, including Special Collections & Archives. The Reading Room is therefore closed until further notice.

Please continue to contact us with your research requests. A selection of items is browsable via the Waterloo Digital Library. We also have over 140,000 items digitized—one might be what you’re looking for!

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
View full library hours.

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