Research Library Services

Display shelves in the Reference Library show a selection of new books and free materials as well as a comfortable chair for reading.

A comfortable chair makes it easy to sit down and enjoy browsing our new titles and free items shelves.



Monday through Friday
8:15 am to 4:15 pm

Founded in 1880, the Research Library focuses on the non-medical aspects of blindness, deafblindness and visual impairments as well as blindness education and related topics.

Our collection is used by a wide range of people. We're glad to help everyone from a fourth grader interested in Helen Keller to a university professor researching a particular person associated with Perkins. We help education specialists by providing access to curriculum materials, learning resources, research about best practices, and other educational materials. We also help Perkins alumni, people in the community, and other organizations for the blind and deafblind.

Information we can help you with

  • The history of Perkins and those associated with the school
  • Education of the blind and/or visually impaired, as well as those who are deafblind or have multiple disabilities
  • Teaching resources for specific skills, including textbooks
  • Research and best practices about specific educational needs or situations
  • Information about the history of blindness and blindness education, including the history of various writing systems and braille
  • Resources to help the blind and visually impaired both in the United States and around the world
  • Accessibility materials to help those who are blind and visually impaired work and participate in community events
  • Information about people who are blind or visually impaired (biographies, etc.) or depictions of blindness at different times
  • Help locating other organizations that can provide specific help such as training, educational material, or connections with state and federal resources

We may also know of helpful resources for other questions. For example, we cannot provide medical or legal advice, but we can often direct you to resources that can provide more help with these topics. View our Frequently Asked Questions for more details about alumni questions.

Types of materials

Our collection includes:

  • Educational and curriculum materials
  • Textbooks and other materials for educators
  • Research texts and dissertations
  • Multimedia items including DVDs and videos
  • Biographies
  • Conference proceedings
  • Journals and newsletters

We routinely index articles from selected journals in our catalog. Our pamphlet and magazine files contain additional articles, clippings, booklets and more from both general publications and organizations for the blind. We also keep historical teaching materials, magazine files, pamphlets and other items that cover the education of the blind and deafblind in the United States and around the world.

The Perkins Archives has extensive information about the collections held by the Archives. A number of items are now available online, and we’re glad to help you find specific resources or materials. Just ask!


We welcome visitors, but in many cases, we can share the information you want without you needing to visit us in person. For more about in-person visits, please read our page about visiting. We prefer email to start (it helps with spelling of names, dates, and making sure we understand your question completely) but you are also welcome to ask questions by phone.

Library services

  • Reference assistance with answering a question or finding a particular type of information or resource
  • Access to specific articles from relevant journals, pamphlets, magazine files, or other materials
  • Creation of bibliographies of materials in our collection for you to review at your convenience
  • Referals to other resources, organizations, and materials
  • Reference collection of core texts and materials for common research needs
  • Handouts and other resources that provide an overview of particular common topics
  • Free items shelf with donated items, available to visitors

If you have a question you think we can help with, please contact us with as much information as you have, and we’ll take it from there.

Other services

We provide workspace, computers, access to scanning and other research support tools in the Research Library. We also have various accessibility tools, including computers with JAWS and ZoomText and a CCTV/Video Magnifier unit.

Research Library policies

The Research Library is a non-circulating collection, but we are often able to provide electronic scans of Research Library materials (including our pamphlet and magazine files) on request. Specifics depend on the amount of material requested and the copyright status of the materials in question. Let us know if you need a format other than PDF.