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How to Use Special Collections

Special Collections
Haverhill Public Library, Art Room, Summer Street, Haverhill, 1927. Item 31479006504418 in the Senter Digital Archive.

Have you ever looked at our Special Collections website – or perhaps noticed the Special Collections link on our homepage – and wondered what we’re all about? What makes Special Collections so special after all?

The Special Collections & Archives Department is happy to answer your questions! Materials collected and preserved by our department are often rare and unique – these materials cannot be easily replaced, if at all. Our mission is to preserve these materials so we can provide access to them now and in the future.

We maintain a large collection of original and published print materials and photographs, as well as digitized images and newspapers on microfilm. We also maintain a comprehensive collection of John Greenleaf Whittier publications, including biographies, literature on Whittier’s abolitionism, and his own writing.

We are located on the Third Floor of the library, accessible by elevator and stairwell during open hours (see Special Collections for current hours). When visiting, our staff will check you in and discuss your research topic with you to find appropriate materials.

We have a special set of guidelines for using our materials, too, as they are often difficult to handle due to deterioration and damage. Please don’t let that intimidate you! Our staff is always happy to answer questions about handling materials appropriately and we have a variety of handling aids, such as book pillows, page weights, and gloves.

We have put together a guide for anyone interested in visiting us! It’s available here:

…and more Special Collections information is always available in our corner of the HPL website: