The University Archives and Special Collections serves both the Loyola University Chicago community and researchers from the general public. This includes undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, visiting scholars, professional researchers, and members of the general public. All patrons wishing to use the collections at the University Archives must make an appointment with staff, have appropriate identification, and fill out a researcher's registration form. Patrons must abide by the University Archives reading room rules and the Loyola University Chicago libraries' access policy. All materials in the department are non-circulating.
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, access restrictions are in place for fall 2020. Information about this temporary policy can be found at Archives Access Fall 2020 .
Collections may be acquired for the University Archives and Special Collections via record transfer, gift, or bequest. It is not the policy of the archives to purchase items although exceptions may be made on a case by case basis, for example the purchase of photographs or similar items from an antiques dealer. The acquisition process for any item or collection is guided by the following criteria:
- Relevance to the mission of the University Archives and Special Collections
- Size and condition of the collection/item
- Ability of the University Archives and Special Collections to process, store, and preserve it
University records are transferred to the archives according to the official University records retention policy. Donation offers of other records and manuscript collections are reviewed individually based on the following criteria:
- Informational value of the collection/item
- Relevance to established collections
- Impact on organizational resources
- Legal ownership of the collection/item
- Ability of the University Archives to process, store, and preserve it
The University Archives serves as the institutional memory of Loyola University Chicago. As such, its primary mission is to collect, preserve, organize, describe, and make available institutional records of enduring historical, legal, fiscal, and administrative value. The University Archives collects records of the Loyola community that help promote knowledge and understanding of the origins, programs, and goals of the University. The papers and records of individuals and organizations not directly connected to Loyola University Chicago are also collected should the subject matter be relevant to the established collections at the Archives.
As the institutional memory of Loyola University Chicago, the University Archives receives records from all University departments according to the established records retention schedule. At times these records can contain confidential information. Since its creation, the University Archives has taken its responsibility to safe guard such information seriously and has developed these procedures according to professional archival standards as well as state privacy laws and federal laws such as FERPA and HIPPAA.
Per official policy, university records are closed to researchers for 20 years from the date of their transfer to the University Archives. This policy was established to eliminate the need for records to be marked "confidential, my eyes only, my permission needed, etc." and is based on the recognition that such designations often create a burden for archives staff administering the collection and a barrier to research. The goal of this policy is to eliminate these barriers and to create more equitable access to the historical records of Loyola University Chicago.
The University Archives and Special Collections staff provides reference assistance for members of the Loyola community as well as researchers from the general public. Inquiries are welcome via email, letter, telephone, or in-person. Researchers planning a visit to the archives are strongly advised to make an appointment in order to insure staff availability.
Due to limited staff, reference inquires received from members of the general public will be researched for up to 1 hour only. Researchers will then be provided with the information discovered during this time. If further information is required, the researcher will be advised to make an appointment for an in-person visit or, if a visit is not possible, to hire a local researcher who can visit the archives to conduct the necessary research.