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IHLC Reading Room Procedures

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections (IHLC) includes both books and other bound materials as well as archives and manuscript materials and spans centuries of Illinois history and the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln.  To preserve the condition of these materials, whether centuries-old or created within the past decade, there are specific procedures to follow when accessing the collections in the IHLC reading room.

General procedures

  • Any bags, coats, food or drink must be stored in a locker outside the reading room before beginning research.
  • This is a non-circulating collection. All materials must be used in the reading room.
  • All researchers will be required to complete a registration form prior to using materials.
  • Use only pencil or a laptop for taking notes. If you need to borrow pencil and paper, let us know. Please do not use pens or highlighters in the reading room.
  • Additional pressure on collection materials may damage them. Please do not lean or write on top of books or archival materials.
  • If you would like to flag a particular page or item in a folder, please request acid-free paper slips from IHLC staff. Please do not apply post-it notes or any other materials.

For books and bound materials

  • Please handle books with care so as to not damage their bindings or pages. Use book supports when appropriate.
  • Use book weights to hold the book open as needed.

For archives and manuscript materials

  • All items in folders must remain in their original order. Please do not remove any item from its folder.
  • When using archival material in boxes, remove only one folder at a time. Insert a placeholder before removing a folder to mark its place in the box and carefully reinsert it back in the same order before removing another folder.

For microfilm reels

  • The IHLC does not have a microfilm reader on site. Microfilm reels must be taken to the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library (HPNL) in room 246 for access.
  • Leave your identification card with staff at the IHLC desk while using microfilm in HPNL.
  • Take care to use microfilm safely to avoid damaging the film. Ask for help from IHLC or HPNL staff if you are unsure how to use the microfilm readers.
  • If the film breaks or splits while you are using it, please stop and contact staff for assistance.
  • Only one reel may be taken out at a time. When you are finished with the reel, please return it directly to the IHLC.
  • Microfilm may only be taken to HPNL. If you would like to leave for a break, please return the reel to the IHLC and let us know you would like it to stay on hold for you.