Archives and Special Collections at Columbia College Chicago provides access to its unique institutional records, special collections, manuscripts and rare book collections and assists researchers in locating related materials pertinent to their research topics. It supports the teaching mission of the college through the acquisition of primary collections in support of college curriculum. The Center for Black Music Research collections offer deep study in Black music topics through its collections representing materials from around the world. Our mission is to ensure these rich primary materials are available and accessible to all. 

We offer several ways to research materials, all available by appointment:


Onsite Research

  • In-Person: View requested collection materials onsite
  • Materials must be used in the  Archives & Special Collections, Focused Collections Book Room, or Center for Black Music Research reading rooms.
  • Note: to enter campus buildings you must provide a driver's license, passport, or state ID to enter the building and check in with the security staff before entering the reading rooms
  • SPRING 2022 appointments, all staff and researchers are required to wear masks at all times 
    • Appointments: scheduled for 1.5 hours and additional time slots can be reserved
  • Columbia College Chicago follows the guidance set out by the College, the City and the County and expect all onsite researchers to follow these guidelines as well: Campus Visitor Guidance,  the Cook County Department of Public Health Order and the City of Chicago Travel Advisory.  

Remote Research

  • Remote Research Session: View requested collection material online with staff
  • Remote Consultation: Meet with staff online for research guidance and advice
    • Appointments: scheduled for 1.5 hours

Instruction and Presentation

  • Faculty Consultation: Plan projects and discover innovative ways to include primary materials into your syllabus to build student research skills and ensure access to rich primary materials, This is course-specific, so please schedule an appointment with us before scheduling an instruction/presentation session. 
    • Appointments: scheduled for 1.5 hours
  • Archives Live Lab (ALL) Presentations: Live stream primary materials into your remote meeting or classroom or record video for asynchronous viewing. The FAQs page offers a fuller explanation about this service. 
    •  Appointments: dependent on the needs of the faculty or organization, so please discuss scheduling with staff.
  • Group or Class Presentations: Staff will present or instruct to students or groups in a variety of subjects including:introduction to research and extrapolation of information from various primary materials; identifying quality research materials; interacting with primary materials; practicing archival work;, and educating about collections, among others.
    • Appointments: dependent on the needs of the faculty or organization, so please discuss scheduling with staff.

Reference Assistance

  • Staff offers research assistance for questions asked remotely by offsite or out-of-area researchers, limited to 1.5 hours of staff work.  
    • For research requring more in-depth research, a list of professional local researchers for hire is available upon request.
  • Contact: archives@colum.edu