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CofC Libraries Instruction Program: Avery Research Center

CofC Librarians and Archivists are available to provide both scheduled and point of need instruction to ensure users have access to regular and timely instruction in the use of library and other learning/information resources.

Manager of Archival Services

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Aaisha Haykal
Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
125 Bull Street
Charleston, SC 29494

Avery Research Center Instruction

The goal of archival instruction sessions taught by the Avery Research Center's faculty is to give students the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to effectively and efficiently find, interpret, and use archives, manuscripts, and other types of unique primary sources. In addition to these archival literacy competencies, registration, proper handling of materials, research techniques, search strategies, intellectual property principles, and reproduction policies are highlighted.

Instruction sessions are tailored to the needs of particular classes or special interest groups and serve as an introduction to highlights from the holdings of the Avery Research Center.  We can also provide informational seminars intended for departmental faculty and staff who wish to incorporate primary source materials into their course work.

After an archival instruction session, students will be able to:

  • Describe the procedures for using the Avery Research Center's archives in order to properly access and handle primary source material in our holdings.
  • Apply evaluative criteria in order to identify if source material is a primary, secondary, or tertiary information
  • Search archival holdings in the online catalog and finding aids in order to retrieve holdings information necessary for requesting materials.

If you would like to arrange for an instruction session, please contact the Manager of Archival Services, Aaisha Haykal. The Avery Research Center faculty and staff appreciates at least two weeks notice to arrange for instruction.

Avery Research Center Reading Room

Located on the ground floor of 125 Bull St., the Phillis Wheatley Literary and Social Club Reading Room welcomes visits from students, staff, faculty, scholars, and the general public.  Holdings in the Avery Research Center date from late eighteenth century to the twenty-first century and include documents, images, oral histories, audio-visual materials, printed materials, and cultural artifacts.  The collections contain over 900 linear feet of archival holdings, more than 6,000 printed volumes, and over 1,700 hundred artifacts.  The majority of the collection documents African American life in Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry region.  Major themes of the collections include education, civil rights activism, labor rights activism, and documentation of Gullah-Geechee culture.

The Avery Research Center reference staff provides research support services such as access to and assistance in using materials at the Avery Research Center.  However, we do not conduct research for patrons. If you are unable to travel to Charleston, you may wish to consider hiring a local research assistant. The Avery Research Center does not employ nor negotiate contracts with independent research consultants.

All users of our collections are required to register at our reference desk. Registration requires that researchers agree to our reading room policies and procedures.  Only then will permission to access archival collections and other materials at the Avery Research Center be granted. One form of current photographic identification is required.  Processed manuscript collections and other cataloged items can be searched via the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library’s online catalog

For questions about our collections or reference/archival services email us at or call us at 843-953-7608.