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How can I access Special Collections?

Special Collections at Princeton University consists of rare books, manuscripts, and archives, which include the Cotsen Children’s Library, the Scheide Library, and the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, home of the University Archives and Public Policy Papers. 

All are welcome to visit and research in our reading rooms in Firestone (C-Floor) and Mudd Libraries. No advance notice or appointments are required. You may walk in and join us at any point during our open hours. We do recommend researchers create a Special Collections Research Account to submit online requests for material in advance of their visit. Material can be requested through the Princeton University Finding Aids and/or Catalog. We encourage you to submit your requests at least 3 business days in advance to ensure that any offsite items will be here when you need them. 

Once you have arrived and been signed into the reading room, we will page up to 6 items at a time. If you have any questions that you would like to ask prior to your visit, please feel free to do so by completing the Ask Us! form. We are always here to help! If you are having any issues with registering or requesting materials, we can assist you via the AskUs! form or when you arrive in person. 

Visiting Special Collections Firestone's Reading Room

Upon your first visit to Special Collections Firestone (C-Floor), you will need to check in with the Access Office to request an Access Card. The Access Office is located on the first floor to the left hand side of the turnstiles. Researchers will be asked to present a photo ID like a driver’s license, passport, school ID or work ID. It is not necessary to use a government-issued ID. Once your access card has been issued, please take the stairs/elevator down to C-floor, where you will find Special Collections' reading room. 

Visiting Special Collections Mudd's Reading Room

Upon your first visit to Special Collections Mudd, researchers will be asked to show a photo ID such as a driver's license or academic/work ID upon arrival to Special Collections reading rooms. It is not necessary to use a government-issued ID. While it is not required at Mudd, we do recommend making your way to Firestone  to obtain an Access Card as it will ease future visits. Should you not obtain an Access Card, you will need to show your photo ID at each visit to Mudd Library. Visitors to Firestone Library are required to obtain an Access Card to make it easy to enter the library's turnstiles. 

As a reminder for both reading room locations

All food, drink, and personal belongings (such as bags, coats, laptop sleeves, pens, books, notebooks) must be stowed in the lockers available just outside the department. You are welcome to bring your laptop or tablet, but we will provide you with paper and pencils for handwritten notes.

You are also welcome to bring a camera, cell phone or other device to take pictures of the collection, but please leave any camera cases in your locker with other personal items. Please also be aware that due to preservation concerns, we do not allow the use of personal scanners, tripods, flash, or copy stands. 

To respect fellow researchers, we kindly ask you to remember to turn off any audible notifications on your devices when in the Reading Room. For more information please visit the Reading Room Guidelines page on our website.

Researchers can also request material be digitized and emailed to them as high quality reproductions. Requests must be less than 300 pages and will be provided at no cost to the researcher. For more information on digitization services please see the Digitization and Publication Services page on our website.