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The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections

A guide to accessing resources at the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.

About Us

The Hoole Library is open to The University of Alabama community and to the public, and is a non-circulating collection. The lobby features exhibitions on a regular basis, and is often host to special events, lectures, and readings.

Major Holdings

  • Manuscript and photo collections from Alabamians
  • Rare books about the U.S., the South, or Alabama
  • University of Alabama publications
  • Cookbooks, particularly African American and Southern


Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, on the University of Alabama campus, Tuscaloosa, Ala.


MWF 9-4:45 and TR 9-8; Exceptions:

  • Summer I and II: MTWF 9-5 and R 9-7
  • Interim and when classes aren't in session: M-F 9-4:45

More Information

205-348-0500 | | library website

During Your Visit

Much of our collections are one-of-a-kind or rare, so they require special levels of security and care. This means we have a few rules that all users are required to adhere to. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

  • Please sign in with the person at the front desk before entering the reading room.
  • No bags, purses, briefcases or laptop cases are allowed in the reading room. We can provide you a locker in which to store your belongings. 
  • Paper and pencils are provided at the reading room desk. Pens are not permitted.
  • If you would like to use your laptop, please request permission with the reference librarian. We have two laptops available for patron use. Please check with the person at the reference desk. 
  • Food and drinks are not permitted.

FAQs About Using the Reading Room

  1. Do I need to make an appointment? No. The reading room is open at the hours indicated, and someone is available to help you. However, you are welcome to make an appointment or contact us before your visit to make sure the materials you want to see will be on reserve for you.
  2. Do I need to request materials ahead of time? Only it's not stored on site. Check the finding aid or catalogue record to determine if the materials you're interested in have been moved to our off-site storage facility. If they have, contact us at to request them, and give us 48 business hours of lead time.
  3. How do I request materials in the reading room? Tell the person working at the reference desk what kind of resource you want to see, and they'll give you the appropriate request form.
  4. Can I check out materials from Hoole? No. Part of the reason materials are here is so we can give them extra care -- climate and security. You'll have to use them in our reading room.
  5. Do I need to use gloves? Probably not, unless you're looking at photographs. Washing your hands before you come into the reading room should be sufficient.
  6. Can I take pictures? Yes. You'll need to fill out a form (ask the person working at the reference desk), in which you agree to use the images only for your own research purposes. If you need to request a high-res image or ask for permission to publish it, see our policies page, specifically the section Imaging and Digitization. Please don't take pictures of our space or patrons.

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