Policy UL-SP01 Using Materials in the Special Collections Library

Main Policy Content

  • Purpose
  • Access
  • Personal Property
  • Restrictions
  • Registration
  • Handling
  • Existing Order
  • Return
  • Copying
  • Literary Rights
  • Corrections
  • Tours
  • Cross References


The following guidelines inform Special Collections patrons of rules and procedures necessary for protecting rare books, archival collections, manuscripts and other materials.  Reading room privileges may be limited or withdrawn for failure to comply with all procedures and any special restrictions on collections.  Mutilation or theft of archival and library materials is illegal under Pennsylvania statutes and University regulations, and offenders will be prosecuted.


Materials are available to all patrons subject to the following rules and procedures.  Use of archival, manuscript, pictorial, audio-visual, and other unpublished materials may be subject to additional restrictions.  Materials do not circulate; their use is restricted to the reading room.


Patrons are required to sign in for a locker key at the reception desk.  Patrons must lock any personal property such as coats, purses, backpacks, briefcases, cell phones, computer cases, notebooks, and books in lockers.  Paper and pencils or a laptop computer are allowed in the reading room and may be inspected upon leaving.  Locker keys must be returned to the reception desk by the end of each day.


Eating, drinking, cell phones, and use of tobacco in any form are NOT permitted in the Special Collections Library.


Patrons are required to sign a registration form indicating compliance with the rules and procedures as outlined in this document.


Handle materials with extreme care, and leave them in the same order and condition in which they were provided.  Make no marks on the materials, write no notes on top of materials, make no tracings of maps or drawings, and rest no books or other objects on the face or surface of items used.  Do not place notepaper on top of materials while taking notes.  Handle loose sheets or book pages by the edge; avoid touching the surface with hands.  Wear gloves at all times when handling unsleeved photographs.  No adhesives, including Post-it notes, may be used on any materials including photographs.  All materials must be kept flat on tables at all times.  Foam book supports and book weights are available to gently hold open tightly-bound books or those in fragile condition.  Use only pencils for taking notes.


Maintain the existing order of unbound materials and photographs; in particular, do not mix materials from different folders.  Report any disarrangement or vandalism to staff at the reference desk.


Notify staff before leaving the reading room for the day or for more than five minutes.  If you intend to return within the next week, you may request that staff hold your materials for you.


Request permission from staff for any type of copying.  Copying of certain materials may be prohibited because of restrictions imposed by donors, the physical condition, value of materials, or copyright status.  Patrons may not copy Rare Books materials.  Please notify the staff if copies are needed of Rare Books materials.  Researchers desiring to do their own photographic copy work must provide their own lighting equipment and bulbs; arrangements must be made, however, with the approval of the staff.


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.


Patrons should obtain advice on the availability of unpublished materials for publication and relevant application of copyright law and laws of libel.


The staff always welcomes information correcting catalog records and description of materials.


Tours and course-related instruction can be arranged with staff.


Other Policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

UL-SP02 – Special Collections Library Special Lending Privilege Code

Effective Date: March 2001
Date Approved: March 2001 (Dean's Library Council)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • January 2010 - Editorial
  • March 2001 - Supersedes May 1990 policy
  • May 15, 1990 – New policy

Last Review Date:  January 2010