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Reading Room Guidelines

Reading Room privileges are granted subject to specific rules that are intended to protect collections in the Department of Special Collections and to insure their preservation for future researchers.

  • Visitors are required to register for a Special Collections Research Account before accessing collections in our reading room.
  • Patrons must sign-in at register daily.
  • Coats, briefcases, and other non-essential research items are to be stored in lockers.
  • Patrons must only use pencils or laptops for notetaking.
  • Upon departure, patrons must stop for inspection.


  1. Occasionally written permission is required to use manuscript holdings, and some collections are closed for a period by the donor. Consult with staff concerning access to these collections.
  2. Access may be denied when papers are awaiting processing or when the physical condition of material warrants. Consult with staff concerning these restrictions.
  3. Materials must not be marked on, defaced, leaned on, altered, folded anew, or traced on. They are not to be placed in the lap or propped against the edge of the table. Book stands are available for use. Special gloves may be required to handle photographic and other fragile material.
  4. The existing order and arrangement of material must be maintained. If an item appears to be out of order, please notify a Library staff member.
  5. Materials will be retrieved up to one-half hour before closing.  Books, manuscripts, and other items from the collections to be returned 15 minutes before closing.


  1. Smoking, eating, and drinking are prohibited in all areas.
  2. Personal belongings, including coats, rain gear, briefcases, typewriter and computer cases, scanners, camera bags, parcels, envelopes, and closed folders are not permitted in the Reading Room. Notebooks and personal articles will be inspected as researchers leave the Reading Room.
  3. Permission must be granted for the use of cameras, and other special equipment.
  4. Photocopying and scanning is controlled by the staff.


  1. Researchers must secure written permission from the Department of Special Collections to publish, reprint, or reproduce materials. The researcher assumes all responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel and copyright. One gratis copy of any publication resulting from extensive research in materials in the Department of Special Collections should be presented to the Library.
  2. The correct form of citation is: Description of item, Name of Collection, Box Number, Library Name, Princeton University. Used by permission of the Princeton University Library.