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Reading Room Policies

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The reference staff is available to assist researchers to use the collections in the Library and Archives Reading Rooms on Mondays through Fridays, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Reading Room is closed on weekends, federal holidays, and Yom Kippur.

Policies

Because of the special nature of materials in the collections, patrons are asked to observe the following policies and procedures:

  1. Personal electronic devices may be used in the Reading Room; however, devices should be silenced, and phone conversations are not permitted. WiFi is available. Please check at the Reference Desk for the WiFi login. Staff may not be able to provide technical assistance with personal devices.
  2. Food and drink may not be consumed or stored. 
  3. Unattended personal belongings may not be left in the Reading Room.
  4. A limited number of lockers are provided for personal belongings and are intended to accommodate walk-in patrons. Oversize items, such as luggage, should be deposited at the coat check on the first floor of the Museum. 
  5. Original archival and rare materials may only be used in the Reading Room, at the table in front of the Reference Desk.  
  6. Photocopying of archival and rare materials is not permitted. Patrons are requested to inquire with the Reference Staff about the use of the scanning station for reproducing such items. Refer to the Museum’s Reproduction and Duplication Services guidelines.
  7. Archival materials are to be returned to the Reference Desk before users leave the Reading Room. 
  8. Collections may be held at the Reference Desk for future use. Collections held but not accessed for more than 30 days will be returned to permanent storage.
  9. Rare books and non-book library materials are to be returned to the Reference Desk before users leave the Reading Room. Library materials pulled from the open stacks should be returned to the designated book carts for reshelving.
  10. Circulating materials must be charged out before being removed from the Reading Room. Charged materials should be returned to the Reference Desk for discharge.
  11. When available, digital surrogates or microforms will be served over originals.
  12. Patrons are asked to observe posted policies on equipment use, including:
    • For computer users, priority will be given to patrons scanning from microfilm and microfiche or accessing digital collections.
    • Machines should not be left unattended. Reference staff may reassign unattended stations when other researchers are waiting.
    • To ensure equal access to all equipment, reference staff may limit use of machines when others are waiting.
    • Work should be saved to the desktop before transferring to a USB drive or other storage device. Saved files should be deleted from the computer when finished.

Exceptions to these policies may be approved in writing by the Library Director (or designee), in consultation with the appropriate Office of Collections director(s). The Library staff appreciates the cooperation of its colleagues in observing these policies and in helping to ensure the integrity of the collections and equitable access for all patrons.

Updated June 7, 2016.