Special Collections Policies and Procedures

Materials are placed in a Special Collections area in order to preserve their use for research. These materials require special storage, handling, and security. We request that you participate in the preservation of our holdings by adhering to the following procedures. Although we hope that all of our patrons are trustworthy and careful in their handling of materials, our staff expects everyone to follow our rules and guidelines. This will help maintain the condition of Special Collection materials for future research.


General Procedures

  1. All visiting patrons to the Special Collections Department must present photo identification and all patrons and online users must fill out a Research Request Form.
  2. Any personal property (coats, purses, hats, bags, backpacks, briefcases, research materials, etc.) will be stored in lockers in the department’s break room.
  3. All the materials must be handled with great care. Patrons who carelessly handle materials may be denied further access.
  4. Cell phone use is not permitted.
  5. Patrons are not permitted to do their own copying and/or scanning, or using electronic devices of any kind – for example hand held scanner, tablets, cell phones, digital cameras, or other devices – that could be used for reproduction.
  6. Digital cameras, cell phone cameras, or other electronic devices may not be used to take pictures of the Special Collections exhibits without the permission of Special Collections staff.
  7. Patrons are asked to sit at the table properly. No feet are allowed on the tables, no sitting on the tables, no sleeping or lounging at the tables.
  8. No food, drink, tobacco, or gum is allowed in Special Collections.


Material Usage Procedures

  1. Visiting patrons must fill out a Material Request Form for the items they wish to use.
  2. Only Staff members can retrieve archival materials from the closed stacks. The public is not allowed into the closed archival stack areas.
  3. All materials housed in Special Collections are to remain within the designated area. At no time are materials allowed out of the research areas. All materials stored in vaults are ONLY available through the Coordinator for Special Collections.
    • ONE archival box will be brought out to a reader at a time. Only one folder is allowed on the research table at a time.
    • Materials must remain on reading tables during use. They are not to be placed in the lap or propped against the table edge.
    • Readers are asked to handle materials with clean hands, turning pages slowly and carefully, touching only the margins if possible.
    • No marks are to be added or erased from the materials.
    • No tracings or rubbings may be made without specific permission by the staff.
    • The order and arrangement of the materials must be preserved. Apparent irregularities should be called to the attention of the staff.
    • Researchers using photographic materials must wear special gloves.
  4. When conducting research with collections of high value the researcher will be under direct supervision of a staff member.
  5. Identification must remain with the materials at all times. Please use acid-free tabs located on the research table to mark your place when pulling items from boxes and folders.
  6. Notes during research should be taken with pencil and paper provided by the staff. A personal laptop can be used.
  7. Material must be returned to staff when the researcher leaves for the day. All items assigned to researchers must be returned no less than 15 minutes before closing time.
  8. Readers must present all personal materials for inspection as requested by the Special Collections staff.


Duplication Procedures

  1. For patrons visiting the archives, all requests for reproductions must be accompanied by either a Photocopy Request Form or a Scanning, Video and Audio Request Form.
  2. Special Collections staff will perform all photocopying and scanning of materials.
  3. Patrons are not permitted to photocopy and/or scan archival materials. Copy or scanning requests may be denied due to the condition, size, or restrictions placed on an item.
  4. It is the researcher’s responsibility to conform to all legal literary and copyright provisions attached to the materials used. The Special Collections Department will not be responsible for the infringement of any such laws.
Page Last Updated: March 2, 2018