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Teaching with Special Collections: Set up the room

Information about using special collections materials in classes for Stanford instructors

Guidelines for setting up a class using Special Collections materials

The Barchas room has supplies, such as foam book cradles, weights, book snakes and blue cards that can be used in class sessions. These help to preserve collection materials as they are used and serve as visual cues that these items should be handled with a heightened level of care. See Guidelines for handling materials for additional information.

  • Leave plenty of space around collection materials. 
  • Do not exceed Four items per table.


Rare books

​​​​​​​When working with books:

  • Use foam book supports (book cradles) to support books as shown. These supports reduce strain on book spines and help to preserve the text block attachment and sewing structure. The cradle helps to prop the book open at an appropriate angle
  • Do not force opening.  Add additional foam supports if a smaller angle better fits the natural opening.
  • Use book snakes or weights to carefully to hold page openings. 
  • Do not place book snakes or weights on top of text or illustrations as shown below.


Archival and manuscript collections

When working with manuscript collections:

  • Remove one no more than one folder from a box at a time.
  • Use blue cards to mark the removed folder's place in a box.