The Special Collections Room is open for in-person consultations by appointment. See current availability here.
Contact us at libspcoll @ jjay.cuny.edu at least one week in advance of your request for an appointment.
Appointments are not available whenever the Library is closed (click here to check our hours)
All items located in our catalog as 'Special Collections Room' require an appointment for supervised consultation in the Special Collections Room. We do not have the staffing resources to provide access to materials in our collections that can be found elsewhere, we recommend that you check WorldCat to determine if a published work could be accessed at another library.
We also provide immediate access to materials that have previously been digitized. Please also consult our historical research guides to The NYPD, NY Prisons & Jails and NY Criminal Courts and our Digital Collections.
The John Jay College Library Special Collections hold unique material related to the mission of the Sealy Library and John Jay College. Materials are in published and unpublished form including books, broadsides, pamphlets, prints, serials and archival materials.
Access to Special Collections
The Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections welcomes undergraduate, graduate, and public researchers who want to consult our collections. Please contact the Special Collections Librarian at libspcoll [at] jjay.cuny.edu or ebelcher [at] jjay.cuny.edu for ideas about how our unique materials can support your research interests. All Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book items must be consulted in our reading room by making an appointment in advance of your visit.
All users are required to fill out an application for research, present valid identification upon their first visit to Special Collections and sign the visitors log daily. Pencils only or laptops are allowed for taking notes. Handheld cameras [without flash] are recommended for photographs which may be used for research purposes only see this useful guide on Cameras in the Archives. Photocopies and digital scans from the special collections are completed by library staff for a fee of 25 cents a page [minimum of $5] and can be requested only of unbound and non-fragile materials that would not be damaged in the process. We do allow researchers to take photographs with their own devices for research purposes only. Researchers must ask permission before publishing, posting or otherwise broadcasting copies of any materials in our collections.
It is recommended that researchers complete secondary research on a topic before embarking upon primary research with the archival collections. If this is your first time doing archival research, we recommend that you consult the SAA e-publication Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research and our Introduction to Archival Research page.
We actively acquire historically significant materials that document fields related to criminal justice and the history and activities of John Jay College. Archival materials related to the history of John Jay College are generally transferred from college offices. Unpublished manuscript and published materials are acquired by donation or purchase. Please contact the special collections at libspcoll @ jjay.cuny.edu with questions about transferring or donating materials to Special Collections.
Closed Special Collections
Unique and rare materials are available for supervised study in our Special Collections Room. Researchers who wish to use these collections can make an appointment with the Special Collections Librarian.
Open Special Collections
These unique collections must be used in the library, but are available whenever the library is open (non-CUNY affiliates must request a pass to enter the College and Library). These items are all cataloged in CUNY+ and include:
Articles about the Special Collections For more information about our Special Collections, please read:
Belcher, Ellen. (2008)“Crime in the Library: the Special Collections of the Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice.” Metropolitan Archivist, Summer 2008.
Belcher, Ellen and Ellen Sexton. (2008) "Digitizing criminals: web delivery of a century on the cheap." OCLC Systems & Services, 24/2: 116 - 132
Egan, Nancy (2007) "The Lloyd Sealy Library of John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Academic Library, Special Library, or Both? " Behavioral and Social Sciences Librarian, 25/2: 1-22.
Also the Special Collections are regularly featured in Classified Information, the Lloyd Sealy Library's Newsletter.
Email us at
libspcoll [at] jjay.cuny.edu