The primary mission of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is to serve the faculty, students, and staff of Duke University. We can sometimes support younger students as our staff time and classroom availability permit. In working with non-Duke groups, those with a Duke affiliation such as the Talent Identification Program and John Hope Franklin Scholars take priority over K-12 groups without such a connection.

Teacher Instruction

If you are interested in scheduling a meeting with a Rubenstein Library staff member to discuss ways to incorporate facsimiles of documents or digital collections into your teaching, please contact us.

Digital Collections

The Duke University Libraries’ digital collections are very suitable for incorporating into K-12 curricula. See examples of classes that have used digital collections effectively.

Exhibits

Several exhibit areas in the Rubenstein Library feature changing exhibits that are accessible and interesting to all ages. Check the Current Exhibits page for details. Please note that the Mary Duke Biddle Room is normally open 9-5 Tuesday-Friday and 1-5 Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday. Other exhibit spaces are accessible whenever the Perkins/Bostock library buildings are open to the public. Check this page for hours, which are subject to change based on the Duke University class schedule.

Class Visits

Staff members of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library prioritize our responsibilities to Duke University students, faculty, and staff. Depending on other commitments and with the approval of the Head of Research Services, we may be able to provide topical presentations for visiting elementary, middle, or high school classes. Please contact us to describe your pedagogical goals and arrange a date and time for the visit. You will be paired with a librarian or archivist who will host as your class and serve as your point of contact. 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Class Visits

How much advance notice do I need to provide?

We require a minimum of four weeks notice before you hope to visit. During much of the academic year, our staff and classrooms are fully occupied. It may be possible for us to schedule a visit when Duke classes are not in session.

What size groups does the Rubenstein Library allow?

Due to the sizes of our teaching spaces, we cannot accommodate groups larger than 16 people.

What ages does the Rubenstein Library allow to visit?

We do not have a prescribed age range for class visits. Teachers should contact us to discuss details.

What supervision does the Rubenstein Library require?

All elementary, middle, or high school classes must be accompanied by a teacher and additional chaperones at all times. All elementary and middle school classes must have at least one adult for each five students and they will be expected to actively monitor behavior and the handling of our rare materials.

Does the Rubenstein Library allow students to return after a class visit?

The David M. Rubenstein Library is open to the public. We do not have a strict age cut-off, but expect all our researchers to comply with our reading room policies.

How can I prepare my students in advance of our visit?

Please let your students know that, due to the nature of our materials, we will ask that they place any bags or backpacks well away from the display tables. We do not allow pens, food, or drink near the books and manuscripts. Students must have clean hands. Students may take notes using loose paper and a pencil and may take pictures of interesting items so long as they do not use a flash.

Please communicate your excitement and curiosity about what you will see! You have established the class dynamic, so please model the behavior you wish to see in your students.

Where are you located and where do we park?

Our Visit Us page has detailed directions to campus and the Rubenstein Library and parking information.

Contact

Please contact us to ask about scheduling an elementary, middle, or high school visit.