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Reading Room Policies


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.


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

  1. Please deposit all personal belongings not essential to your research in the lockers provided. Personal property allowed into the Reading Room may be subject to inspection upon entrance and exit. Unattended personal belongings may not be left in the Reading Room.
  2. All Archives users are required to complete a Researcher Registration form. Valid government-issued photo identification is required.
  3. Please request archival, rare, and non-book materials from the reference staff. Original materials are stored offsite and may take up to ten days to be delivered to the Reading Room. Advance requests to use such collections may be submitted via the Submit a Research Question form. Please note that some collections have restrictions on access and use that are described in the catalog record.
  4. When using archival materials, patrons will be issued one item at a time. When using paper collections, patrons should leave the box upright and remove only one folder at a time, use the provided place marker and make sure to replace the folder in proper order before moving on to the next one.
  5. Original archival and rare materials may only be used at the table in front of the Reference Desk. Library and archival materials may not be removed from the Reading Room.
  6. All materials are to be handled with extreme care to prevent damage and to ensure preservation for the future. Only pencils may be used for taking notes by hand when examining original materials. Gloves will be provided by staff, to be worn when handling photographs, and may also be required when examining paper collections at the discretion of the reference staff. 
  7. 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. Permission to reproduce material does not imply permission to publish or to use this material for any purposes other than reference. If you have specific questions about copyright restrictions, please consult with the reference staff, and refer to the Museum’s Reproduction and Duplication Services guidelines and guidance on Citing Museum Resources in Research Papers.
  8. Use of personal digital scanners may be allowed at the discretion of the reference staff. Laptops, digital cameras, and other mobile devices (on silent mode) may be used in the Reading Room, within Library guidelines.
  9. 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.
  10. Eating, drinking, and cell phone conversations are prohibited in all areas of the Library and Archives Reading Room.
  11. Archival materials are to be returned to the Reference Desk before users leave the Reading Room. 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.
  12. 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.

Exceptions to these policies may be approved in writing by the Library Director (or designee). The Library and Archives staff appreciate their patrons’ cooperation in observing these policies and in helping to ensure the integrity of the collections and equitable access for all patrons.