Using Our Collections

Bywaters Special Collections

Covid-19 Policy: Bywaters Special Collections 

Starting August 24, 2020, Bywaters Special Collections will be open to SMU faculty, staff, and students by appointment only. Contact our staff if you have any questions.

While researchers beyond SMU cannot be accommodated in person at this time, they are encouraged to send us queries about their projects. We intend to supply copies of materials as much as we possibly can, especially for researchers who can’t be here in person.

We thank you for your patience during this difficult time. Our goal throughout is to provide the safest environment possible for our staff and our researchers as we navigate the pandemic.



1 researcher is allowed in the research room at a time.

Researchers will be allowed in the research room for no more than 2 hours per visit, 9-11 or 1-3, Monday through Friday.

Bywaters Special Collections is appointment only. Researchers will need to schedule their appointments at least 48 hours in advance.

After making their appointments, researchers should then let us know, via email, exactly what materials they want to see (call numbers, accession numbers, box numbers, volume numbers of periodicals, etc.). We need to have this information ahead of time so that we can pull the materials before the appointed times. If copies can be made, and if copies can answer a researcher’s needs, we’ll supply copies rather than schedule an in-person appointment.

Do not come to Bywaters Special Collections without a confirmation email. If you are not feeling well, please respect everyone’s safety and email our staff to cancel or reschedule your appointment.

On arrival

Masks or cloth face coverings must be worn at all times in Hamon Library and Bywaters Special Collections. Our staff will be doing the same.

A bookshelf is designated for personal belongings. Researchers may bring only silenced cell phones, digital cameras, wallets, pencils, and laptops or tablets without cases into the reading room. Power cords and headphones for electronic equipment are permitted. Backpacks, purses, and other belongings must be kept in the designated shelf.

Staff will have placed the materials the researcher has requested on a designated table in the research room. A link to the application for use form will be emailed to the researcher to complete.

In the research room

In compliance with state and SMU requirements, readers must wear a mask covering their mouth and nose at all times while in Bywaters Special Collections and Hamon Arts Library. They will not remove the mask for conversation or other purposes. This is non-negotiable.

If a reader cannot wear a face mask, we will not be able to schedule an appointment in the research room.  Instead, reproductions of documents will be substituted, in accordance with ADA policy on providing reasonable accommodations.

As standard protocol, the reader will be asked to make use of the hand sanitizer in the entryway.

Reproductions/copies and other equipment

We encourage researchers to use their cell phones or cameras as much as possible to make copies for their personal use.

Researchers will be emailed instructions for ordering reproductions.