Why does the Special Collections department at UTC exist? Well, our mission statement begins like this: “Our mission is to house, preserve, and provide access to historical items and collections, particularly those that relate to the University, Chattanooga, the state of Tennessee, and the South.” This is accurate, yet lacks specificity. Though we do house and preserve material for the long haul, our real duty comes with providing access to these resources and meeting our patrons’ needs. What can we do for you? For starters, here are a few ways we can help:
- Research– Looking for obscure local history information? Wanting to explore the role of women in World War II? We have materials that could prove helpful for almost every subject. Just because our items have historical value does not mean they will only be of interest to history majors. So if you are looking for that little extra oomph to add to your paper, visit us!
- LibGuides– The library offers awesome research tools called LibGuides. These digital research aids give the user well-crafted, concise jumping off points for all disciplines. We have integrated special collections related information into many of these research guides. Learn more about our Anthropology, Music, Psychology, Art, Biology, Environmental Science, Religion, History, and Women’s Studies resources and how they might be useful to you. Look for additions to other subject guides in the future.
- Digital Collections– We are steadily working to digitize content that our users will find useful. That means that our materials are increasing available online to people across the globe. Don’t want to get out of your PJ’s to do your research? No problem! Visit our digital collections here.
- Online Finding Aids– Finding aids are documents that help you see what types of materials are in our manuscript collections. These aids have previously only been available in print in the Special Collections. We are now working to integrate them into our website and make them searchable. No more flipping through hundreds of pages to determine what resources will be helpful. Again, you can look at them while in your PJ’s and no paper cuts!
- For Profs– We would love to come to your class and talk about integrating our primary source materials into your students’ research. Some professors like to bring their students to the Special Collections department for these sessions–especially helpful for familiarizing students with our location and space. We also have a lecture based around the history of the university that is especially timely for our 125th anniversary.
- And much, much more!– Physical exhibits, rare & local books, books authored by UTC professors, materials by southern writers, photograph collections, a blog–we have all sorts of ways to help you with your research or just your curiosity.
Before we get all dewy-eyed with our love for helping our patrons, let us take a moment to ask you what else we can do. We’d love to hear from you because you define our services. Comments to this post, phone calls, emails, snail mail, anonymous note stuck to our office door-however you best like to communicate. We’ll be waiting!