Reading Room Rules and Guidelines

The collections are open to all users during regular hours of service.

All readers must register and provide contact information, photo ID, and name. Positive photo identification is required. All users of the collections must maintain an updated Patron Registration Form at the main Special Collections reference desk.

Rare books, manuscripts, and other materials from the division’s book collections must not be removed from the reading room (room 401). Most materials do not circulate. Some books from the Closed and Comic Art Collections may be checked out subject to condition and the discretion of Special Collections staff.

No food or beverages are allowed in the reading room, including water bottles.

The use of ink pens is not permitted in the reading room. Paper and pencils are available upon request.

Loose-leaf paper, pencils, laptop computers, and mobile devices in silent mode are allowed at the study tables.  Readers must silence cell phones and leave the reading room to place or receive calls.

Personal items are not allowed at the reading tables.  Readers must store all personal belongings except those noted above in the shelving or lockers provided.

Readers must return materials to the desk before exiting the reading room for any reason.

Care in Handling

All materials in the department must be handled with great care.

  • No marks may be added or erased.
  • No tracings or rubbings may be made without specific permission from Special Collections staff.
  • Materials should remain on the table while being consulted.
  • Book cradles, pillows, and weighted snakes should be employed to aid use of fragile materials.
  • No books, papers, or objects may be laid on top of the materials, nor should the reader lean on them.
  • Special Collections staff may request readers to wear gloves, but in most cases, gloves are not required.
  • Non-flash photography is allowed, but must be approved and supervised by staff.