Information for Researchers

The Center for the History of Rural Iowa Education and Culture (CHRIEC), established in 2008 as a joint initiative of the UNI Museums, College of Education, and College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, is dedicated to the preservation, protection, and dissemination of materials and information relating to the rural school system and culture in Iowa. It maintains archival, historical, and research collections containing primary resources—such as the rural school records, photographs, and artifacts—as well as secondary materials including oral histories, reference works, and costumes.

Location and Hours

The Rural School Records, the largest component of the resources at the Center for the History of Rural Iowa Education and Culture, are physically located in Rod Library's Special Collections and Archives. It is open from 8am-4pm, Monday through Friday. Other materials in the collection of the CHRIEC are housed in the UNI Museums and are available by appointment or advance arrangements.


Researchers are required to fill out a Research Registration Form and provide information on the nature of their visit before being granted access to the collections. A valid identification is also required.


  • Coats, briefcases, parcels, and personal books are not permitted in the research area. Please leave them at the registration desk.
  • No ink of any kind may be used in the research area; use pencils only. Computers may be brought into the archives and used at the discretion of the archivist.
  • Smoking, eating, and drinking are prohibited in the archives.
  • All archival materials must be handled carefully: use only one folder at a time and keep the papers in their existing order.
  • Do not place books or volumes face down. Do not lean or press on archival materials. Do not trace maps or other records.
  • Do not write on any materials held by the CHRIEC.
  • All materials should be in the same order and state when the researcher leaves as when they arrived.
  • No material in the archives may be removed from the research area for any reason.
  • Persons requesting access to restricted materials must contact the person or agency imposing the restrictions. The archives cannot permit access to these materials without written permission from the proper authority.
  • Researchers are advised that it is their responsibility, not the archives, to obtain copyright clearance to publish or otherwise reproduce or distribute archival material. Whenever possible, the archivist will provide the names and addresses of copyright holders.
  • Any published work using the CHRIEC collections must make proper acknowledgement of the fact using the preferred citation template: [Name of Collection, Item], Center for the History of Rural Iowa Education and Culture, University of Northern Iowa. “Published work”, as used here, refers to theses, dissertations, term papers, journal articles, monographs, books, electronic or other other forms of publication prepared for public audience, limited or general.

Duplication of Materials

  • Unless restricted or protected by copyright conditions, photocopies of material will be supplied for research purposes at the rate of 25 cents per page. No more than 20% (or 200 pages, whichever is less) can be reproduced in any form for any individual or organization. [See Fees and Services for further information.]
  • Copies made of CHRIEC’s holdings are only to be used for research or private study purposes and are not to be made commercially available, reproduced, shared, or exhibited in print or online.
  • Since it may not be possible to fill some orders on the day requested, the Center reserves the right to carry out the work over a reasonable period of time.
  • Researchers requiring copies of photographs, maps, sound recordings, or moving image materials, or those wishing to copy archival materials using their own cameras or other equipment, are requested to consult the archivist about conditions and charges.
  • Hand-held scanners or any type of equipment that is moved or rubbed across the face of documents is not allowed at CHRIEC; these methods cause friction and abrasion and are potential detriments to the integrity of archival resources.

Personal Camera Use

This policy is designed to assist researchers using the Center for the History of Rural Iowa Education and Culture’s collections by encouraging the use of personal cameras for note-taking activities. The use of personal cameras is subject, but not limited, to the following conditions:

  • Researchers wishing to take photographs using their own cameras or other equipment must first obtain permission from the archivist for each photograph desired. Materials may have copyright or other restrictions which limit the use of their image.
  • All photographs are to be used for research purposes only and may not be reproduced, shared, exhibited, or published in print or online.
  • Manuscripts, records, or collections may not be reproduced in their entirety. Photographs are meant to help supplement note taking and allay the amount of scanning and photocopying necessary. Researchers should limit the number of photographs taken to a reasonable amount.
  • All materials are to be handled carefully and properly. Do not fold, flatten, or remove any fasteners from any of the records. Do not remove items from their encapsulated environments (e.g., mylar sleeves). Researchers found mishandling or abusing materials will be denied further access to CHRIEC’s holdings.
  • Digital cameras and mobile phone cameras must be set to ‘silent’ and to ‘still photography’ mode. Mobile phones cannot be used to take calls in the reading room but can be used for text messaging, in silent mode. Flashes, tripods, scanners, or other specialized equipment are not permitted.
  • Researchers wishing to take photographs of the reading room, the staff, or other researchers are asked to see and abide by Rod Library’s policy.
  • The CHRIEC reserves the right to examine and/or request copies of all photographs taken.