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RBML Exhibit Loan Policy

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library is open to consider loan requests for rare books and archival material originated from cultural and educational institutions located in the US, its territories, and international, in accordance with the highest conservation and preservation standards and procedures. The loaning of items from our distinctive collections helps fulfill our outreach mission of public education and diversifies the cultural legacy of our collections. The following guidelines help us determine loaning of our objects to other institutions:

Exhibition Research and Request

  • Curators working on the early stages of an exhibition are welcomed to peruse virtually our collections of rare books and manuscripts through the catalog, or through a scheduled visit to the RBML.
  • The RBML requires a period of 18 months in advance to work on exhibition loan requests. We may be able to work on loan requests on a minimum period of 12 months depending on the condition and the quantity of works requested. This span of time will allow us to work on conservation procedures and all the necessary documentation.

Exhibition Venue

  • The RBML prioritizes loan requests from institutions accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), as well as cultural and educational institutions with an explicit mission towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. Exhibition spaces are expected to submit an up-to-date AAM Standard Facilities Report, detailing security, fire, lighting, environmental, storage, and exhibit space, along with the loan request.

Required Documents

The RBML requires 18 months in advance to start working on exhibition loan requests. Depending on the condition and the amount of materials requested we may be in a position to consider loan requests at a minimum of 12 months. The following requirements are customary for all institutions interested in borrowing RBML materials for exhibitions:

  • A formal letter of loan request sent by email and addressed to Lynne M. Thomas, Head of the RBML. A carbon copy of this letter should be sent to the Registrar, Ana D. Rodríguez. This letter should include the following:
    • Title of the exhibition
    • Purpose or main thesis of the exhibition
    • Detailed list of works requested (call number, title, creator, date)
    • Name of the gallery or exhibition space
    • Dates of the exhibition: loan and exhibition dates
  • Up to date AAM Standard Museum Facilities Report
  • Insurance Certificate (this could be facilitated after initial approval)

Costs responsibility

  • Although the RBML approves loan requests free of charge, the borrowing institution is expected to cover costs of packing (in the case of custom-made crates), transportation, and couriering.

Packing and Crating

  • The RBML provides packing of loaned works by working in tandem with the Main Library’s Conservation Unit. Pelikan cases can also be facilitated depending on capacity (dimensions and number of loaned works) of these. In the case of a loan requiring a custom-made crate, this should be approved by the RBML. The borrowing institution is expected to cover costs associated with the fabrication of a custom-made crate.

Transportation and Couriering

The borrowing institution will be responsible for arranging land and aerial transportation of loaned items. The RBML requires the use of a specialized fine-art shipper to transport items from the RBML to the borrower’s venue and back to the RBML at the conclusion of the loan. For international and out-of-state loans the RBML requires a courier to accompany the loan and supervise its shipment and safe handling. The registrar will act as the designated and official RBML courier.

Stages for a Successful Loan Approval Process

  • A formal letter of loan request is received 18 months prior to an exhibition opening date, along with the AAM Standard Facility Report. We could be able to work on loans at a minimum of 12 months, and that will depend on the condition and amount of materials requested.
  • The Registrar will proceed to establish a line of communication via email with designated personnel from the borrowing institution.
  • Requested works will undergo a preliminary conservation assessment to evaluate their material condition for an exhibition and potential loan approval.
  • The Registrar will communicate conservation assessment results to the borrowing institution.
  • The Borrower will be required to submit a loan agreement