Library & Archives Research Centers
Whether you are an author, educator, student, reporter, curator, archeologist, preservationist, historian or genealogist, the Library and Archives Research Centers can help you achieve your research goals by providing access to 209 million documents, photographs, newspapers and more.
OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
Schedule an appointment Thursday or Friday, 9 a.m - 11:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
- Holiday Schedule
- Closed July 3, 2021; Sept. 4, 2021; Nov. 11, 2021, Nov. 25-27, 2021, Dec. 24-25, 2021; Dec. 31; Jan. 1, 2021
State Historical Building
600 E. Locust St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
Prepare for your visit
|Renovation Notice: The Des Moines Library and Archives Research Center has moved to a temporary location on the first level of the building. This relocation, through summer 2022, is part of a renovation to better protect and preserve the state’s vast historical collection for years to come. All materials will still be available; however, due to limited space in the temporary location, please plan extra time for research as staff performs retrievals. Currently, appointments are required to visit the research center. Please contact our staff ahead of time – especially if you are visiting from out of town or out of state. We appreciate your patience during this transition.|
402 Iowa Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Prepare for your visit
Collection Retrieval Schedule
While the Library and Archives Research Center is accessible by appointment only, patrons are required to advise staff two business days in advance of the materials they would like to research. Staff will advise patrons if it’s feasible to review all requested collections during a scheduled appointment. Materials in closed and remotely stored stacks must be retrieved by staff in advance of the visit, including books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, original newspapers and state archives collections. State archives materials are only available in Des Moines. Due to the complications of scheduling and collection quarantine logistics, you will not be able to request additional materials during your appointment. If you wish to view additional materials from the closed stacks, another appointment will have to be made. Materials in the open stacks are available on demand during your scheduled research appointment.
Prepare for Your Visit
The State Historical Society of Iowa team will assist you in the Library and Archives Research Center by directing you to pertinent collection guides, recommending sources of information, filling reproduction orders and scheduling additional research appointments.
For the safety and well-being of other patrons and staff prior to your visit, if you are feeling unwell, please stay home and contact staff to reschedule your appointment.
In preparation for your visit, following are the Library and Archives Research Centers health and safety guidelines, use policies and procedures, and a few tips to ensure you have a great research experience. Please contact us if you have any questions about your visit.
- Make an appointment for your Library and Archives Research Center visit at least two days in advance and communicate to staff which collections from closed stacks you need during your visit. For more information on our holdings please visit our collections page, general catalog and the library catalog.
- Wearing a face mask during your visit is optional. Face masks are available at the reference desk.
- To help preserve Iowa History Collections, wash your hands with soap and water rather than using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Upon arrival, check in at the welcome desk.
- Store your coat, purse, briefcase, fanny pack, equipment case or other similar items in one of the lockers provided. Lockers take two quarters that are automatically refunded when you return the key. As a security measure, all personal notes and equipment are subject to search when you leave the center.
- Bring a pencil. Pens or markers of any type are not permitted in the center. Pencils are provided.
- Food and beverages are not allowed in the Library and Archives Research Center. In Des Moines a break area and vending machines are located in the 2nd floor east lobby area.
- Smoking is prohibited in State Government Buildings and on the State Capitol Complex.
- The materials you’ve requested will be ready for you to access at a reserved seat in the Library and Archives Research Center.
- Staff will reserve collections for patrons who have made appointments to use collections across multiple and consecutive days.
- Patrons should leave collection materials on the assigned table when finished so they can be placed into a 24-hour quarantine prior to reshelving by staff.
- Photocopy service is provided by staff. Copies of maps, manuscripts, photographs and state archives materials are available unless prohibited by state law, copyright or curatorial restrictions.
- You may use an audio recorder, laptop, tablet or camera. Please check with the staff to ensure your equipment doesn't inconvenience others.
- All collections must stay in the Library and Archives Research Center and cannot be checked out or taken to another area of the building.
- Collections from our other Research Center are sometimes available through interorganizational loans.
Visiting the Des Moines Research Center
Visiting the Iowa City Research Center
The State Historical Society of Iowa welcomes archives collection tours and Library & Archives Research Center orientations. To schedule a tour or orientation, please contact us.