Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.

The following services are available to Bell Library researchers:


Researchers are encouraged to use their own cameras or phones (no flash) to take digital copies of the materials they review in the reading room.  Under special circumstances staff will provide paper copies or make research quality digital scans;  contact the curatorial staff, perferably in advance of your visit, to ensure this service will be available when you need it.

Digital Reproduction

Bell Library staff can arrange to have high resolution digital images made on your behalf by the University Libraries' Digital Library Services when such duplication can be done without injury to the material and does not violate copyright restrictions or restrictions imposed by agreement with a donor. Due to the use of special cameras and the nature of the material, scan prices may range from $5 to $25 with additional fees for processing and delivery and depending on whether you are a member of the U of M community. Contact a Bell Library staff member to discuss your order and obtain appropriate pricing.

Permission to Publish

Effective 2019, the University of Minnesota Archives & Special Collections units no longer require a permission to publish agreement for public domain materials used for scholarly purposes, which covers the James Bell LIbrary with the exception of its reference materials.  Commercial entities will still require a signed permission agreement.  Contact the Bell Library to determine if fees and/or an agreement are required and to obtain the appropriate credit that should accompany all published materials.

Reference & Research Services

Reference Services
Bell staff members are happy to provide reference services for the Bell Library collection. You may request information in person, by phone (612/624-1528) or by e-mail ( The time required to respond to your query will vary, depending on the nature of the information requested.

Research Services
The Bell Library currently does not offer research services. However, we will be happy to put you in touch with staff or graduate students in an academic department who may be able to assist you.