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Visiting the Department

What are your hours and where are you located?

Special Collections is located on the 3rd floor of Lied Library on the UNLV campus.
Turn right after you exit the elevator.

Academic year hours:

Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Summer and winter break hours:

Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Why isn't Special Collections open as many hours as the library?

Because our materials are rare and often one-of-a-kind, public services staff must be at service desk at all times when researchers are using the collections, and other staff must page materials. The large number of staff required means that we cannot be open as many hours as the rest of the library.

Where do I park on campus?

Where is the Oral History Research Center located?

The Oral History Research Center is part of Special Collections on the 3rd floor of Lied Library. To use materials in the collection, please inquire at the department's reference desk.

Can I take a tour of the reading room?

You are welcome to view the collections in the Reading Room provided you leave your bag at the front desk. Please ask staff first if you would like to view a particular volume in the Reading Room.

Can I take my bag into the reading room?

For security reasons, you are required to store any backpacks, purses, or laptop sleeves in the lockers provided. You may take out notepads and laptops for your research.

Can I touch the material in the reading room?

Please ask staff if you would like to see a particular volume in the Reading Room.

Can I take pictures of the material in the reading room?

You are welcome to take photos of material in the Reading Room for personal or scholarly use, but please inform us if you are using those photos for any type of publication or commercial use.

Using the collections

Do I have to register each time I come into Special Collections?

Patrons must register once each calendar year

Why are these books in your collection - they're not old?

Special Collections comprehensively collects the history of Las Vegas and gaming and as a result, many of the books in our collection are not rare or old. As it is our mission to preserve and provide access to these materials, they must remain in Special Collections and not circulate in the general collection.

Is there a limit to how much material I can view at one time?

Researchers are limited to three boxes of manuscript material at a time. Only five books may be requested at a time and each book requires an individual call slip.

How do I access photos in your collection?

Please consult our photographs page for complete information on accessing our photo collections and viewing some of the thousands of images that have been digitized. You are also welcome to come in and view the photographs in person during our regular hours. 

Making Copies & Reproductions

Can I use my digital camera, phone camera, or tablet camera to take a picture of these documents or photographs?

Yes, patrons are welcome to use their digital cameras, phones, and tablets to take pictures for private scholarship and research purposes. If you are intending to publish, display, exhibit, or use the material in a film or documentary, you will need to fill out a permission form.

Please note that Special Collections does not hold copyright of all images in our collection. Researchers are responsible for clearing copyright for all image reproductions used for commercial purposes.

Can I photocopy material?

Yes, patrons may self-photocopy most material in Special Collections (15 cents per page) provided they follow posted rules. Students and staff may use a Rebel Card to pay for copies and all other community users can pay at the Special Collections desk. Please use the book-friendly copier and copy only one page at a time, and consult staff before you copy fragile manuscript materials.

Please note: It is the researcher's responsibility to follow posted copyright regulations. 

How do I order photographs of old Las Vegas from your collections?

If you find images that you like on our digital collections site, via searching our online inventories of photographs or via searching our physical collections in person, check out our reproductions page for instructions on how to order digital reproductions for private or commercial use.

Please note that Special Collections does not hold copyright of all images in our collection. Researchers are responsible for clearing copyright for all image reproductions used for commercial purposes.

Permissions and Use

I would like to broadcast (or publish) one of your images. Will you give me permission to do so?

The copyright holder has the exclusive right to do or authorize the reproduction, distribution, performance, or broadcast of his or her work.  Please see Title 17 of the United States Code. Special Collections only grants permission to broadcast or publish items when UNLV clearly holds the copyright to that item.  Please note that we often do not own the copyright to the historical materials in our collections. We cannot grant permission when we do not own the copyright.

Please see our policies on Reproductions and Use for further information.

Why don’t you own the rights to the images in your collections?

We collect unique materials about Southern Nevada as part of our mission to document the history of our region, support research and scholarship, and help preserve our region’s memory and identity.  We are an educational institution.

In the past few decades, when individuals and companies have donated their archives to UNLV, we have asked the donors to sign a gift agreement that transfers physical ownership and copyrights to UNLV.  However, this gift agreement only transfers those rights that the donors owned.  In a typical archival collection, the donors did not own the copyrights to all of the material they collected in their files.  Their archives often contain materials - brochures, photographs, letters, videos, and more - from a variety of sources and other creators who retained their copyrights. Upon request, we can check whether we have a gift agreement for a collection and share the terms of the agreement.  We do not have gift agreements for all of our collections. It is your responsibility to determine how the gift agreement applies to the image or item you want to use. 

Even though we don’t own the rights to all of the historical materials in our collections, we believe it is important that we preserve these materials for future generations to access.  We are a trusted physical custodian for our region’s rich history.

We welcome all to use the materials we collect in accordance with copyright law and fair use.

Why do you make historical images available on the web when you don’t own the copyright?

The UNLV Libraries has digitized many of our unique historical holdings and made them available on the web to support teaching, learning, and research.  We support the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries.

What material is under copyright protection? What is in the public domain?

Cornell University has provided a helpful chart that will help you determine whether material might be copyrighted or in the public domain: Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States.

What is “fair use”?

Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right of a copyright owner to control reproduction of his or her work.  Section 107 of copyright law lists various purposes for when a reproduction might be fair, including criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.  Also see the Copyright Office’s fact sheet on fair use.

How do I find the copyright owner and get permission to use materials?

Here are some helpful resources:

What if I can’t find the copyright owner?

Here are some helpful resources:

My publisher requires that I obtain the rights to use your images in my book.  Will you license these images for publication?

Due to resource constraints, we are unable to license images in our holdings, even when UNLV holds the copyright.  In addition to copyrights, our images may be subject to publicity rights, privacy rights, trademarks, and other rights not owned by UNLV.

In order to use one of your images, my publisher/company needs for Special Collections to sign a release form?  Will you sign it?

We are unable to sign forms that ask UNLV to license items in our holdings or that seek rights clearance from us.  In the few cases where we can determine definitively that UNLV owns the copyright to an item, we will issue a permissions letter with our language and on our letterhead. 

Special Collections gave me permission to use images before.  Have your policies changed?

Our policies, fees, and forms changed in June 2014. We lowered our prices, and we eliminated the requirement to seek our permission, as the physical owner of material, to publish or broadcast items from our holdings.  Previously, as a condition of access and in our capacity as the physical owner of material, we required that you seek our permission to publish from our holdings. This was always in addition to your responsibility for identifying and clearing all other copyrights, privacy rights, publicity rights, and trademarks pertaining to the items you wanted to use.  Our new policies reduce the number of permissions you need to obtain, lower your production costs,  and emphasize your responsibilities to clear any rights not owned by UNLV for your intended use.

Collections - What We Have and Don't Have

Collections - What We have and Don't Have

Do you have any collections relating to the newer casinos on the strip?

Our casino promotional and publicity files housed in the Reading Room have press kits and press releases on the newer Strip casinos. 

Do you have any material on Bugsy Siegel and the mob in Las Vegas?

Our material on organized crime is limited to published works. We have a large selection of books on organized crime in Las Vegas, the history of organized crime in Las Vegas, and organized crime in the United States.

Do you have any material on Elvis?

We have very limited material on Elvis - a few photographs, a program, and some published works. 

Where can I find historic Nevada newspapers?

Consult our section on newspapers to find out more about the historic Las Vegas and Nevada newspapers in Special Collections. However, please check out the Microfilm Collection in the UNLV Libraries for a comprehensive listing of historic Nevada newspapers on microfilm.

Where can I find a UNLV yearbook?

The University Archives in Special Collections has copies of all UNLV yearbooks. Please note that these yearbooks ceased publication in 1986.

Where can I find UNLV course catalogs?

The University Archives in Special Collections has copies of nearly all undergraduate and graduate course catalogs, dating back to the late 1950s. 

Digital Collections

How do I search your digital collections?

Helpful tips on searching our digital collections

How do I order photographs that I find on your digital collections website?

If you find images that you like on our digital collections site, here are the instructions on how to order digital reproductions for private or commercial use.

What scanners and technology does the library use?

Read more about the technology that we use in our digitization lab to create our digital collections.

How do I find out more about the technologies developed for UNLV's digital collections?

Read about the technology used to create our digital collections at UNLV.

UNLV History

Who was the first student to graduate from UNLV ?

The first commencement at Nevada Southern University (UNLV) was on Wednesday June 3, 1964. Jon Eric Cobain was the President of the Class of 1964 and received the first diploma.

What was the first university building located on Maryland Parkway?

The first university building constructed on Maryland Parkway was Maude Frazier Hall. It was constructed in 1957.

How many times has the University changed its name in the past 50 years?

There have been three names for the university in the last 50 years. The first was the Southern Regional Division of the University of Nevada in 1957. Next, it was renamed Nevada Southern University in 1965. Finally, it was renamed the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1969.

Who was the first UNLV President?

The first campus officer to have the title president was Donald Moyer in 1964. However, William D. Carlson was the first Director or Executive Officer for the Southern Regional Division of the University of Nevada in 1957. 1957 was the year that the first university building was constructed on Maryland Parkway. The campus would eventually be renamed the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1969.

What was the original mascot For UNLV?

The original mascot for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) was “Beauregard.” This mascot was created in 1957. It was a wolf dressed in what looked like a Confederate Civil War uniform.

What type of material is in the University Archives?

The UNLV University Archives preserves material relating to all aspects of UNLV history, including official University records with enduring historical and administrative value, architectural records and plans, papers of prominent faculty, records of student organizations, select NSHE records, university and student publications, photographs, artifacts, and more.

Where is the University Archives?

In Special Collections on the 3rd floor of Lied Library.


Do you sell or appraise rare books?

Special Collections does not appraise books or manuscript material, but we can provide you the name and contact information of a local appraiser.

Can you repair my old books?

The Preservation Lab in UNLV Special Collections can only repair UNLV Libraries materials, however, the conservator is willing to answer questions relating to the preservation and repair of book and manuscript materials. He can also make recommendations for conservators who do private repairs.

Does that slot machine work?

The slot machine in the Reading Room is for display purposes only. You are welcome to take pictures of it.

Do you have the contact information for the Springs Preserve or Nevada State Museum?

Springs Preserve is 702-822-7700 and Nevada State Museum is 702-486-5205

Do you know the number for the Gamblers Book Store?