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Policies & Procedures

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library furnishes access to materials that may be rare and vulnerable.

To help preserve these resources and keep them available in the future, all users of the Reading Room must follow the policies detailed below, as well as the University Library’s Patron Conduct Policy. Failure to comply with existing policies may result in sanctions as described in University regulations and State Statutes.


Before using library materials all readers must create an Aeon Reader Account. This account allows readers to request materials and services through the online catalog and to keep an online record of all transactions. This account must be updated annually; you will be asked to update your personal information every 365 days. Upon arrival at RBML readers are required to check in at the Public Service Desk and to present valid government-issued photographic identification. Please note that registration is NOT required to view the library’s exhibits, or to attend library-sponsored public events.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library uses various surveillance techniques, including video surveillance, in all its spaces, and reserves the right to inspect personal belongings. The following items are strictly prohibited in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library: tobacco, food, chewing gum, beverages, electronic scanners, coats, hats, purses, bags, briefcases, backpacks, notebooks or folders of any kind, stick-on notes, clipboards, ink pens, or highlighters.


Once registered, readers may request materials through the online catalog or the Aeon system. A separate Aeon request must be completed for each title or manuscript folder; there is a maximum of 30 active requests. No more than five books, five manuscript folders, or one manuscript box can be viewed at any one time. All requested materials (except microforms) must be used in the RBML Reading Room. Materials can be requested for use on the same day up to 30 minutes before the posted closing time. All requests are permanently stored in our online request system for security reasons.


Only pencils, loose paper, tablets and laptop computers removed from their case may be brought into the Reading Room. All other personal belongings must be stored in the entryway lockers. RBML will gladly supply pencils and paper. Cell phone use in the library is prohibited, except when used for staff-approved photographic purposes. Reference materials may not be taken into the Reading Room except with the approval of library staff. Sharing of materials between readers is not allowed. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Seminar Room may be used for group or classroom work. Materials must remain in the Reading Room at all times along with their call slip.


Requested materials will be brought to readers in the Reading Room. All items must be handled with great care. RBML staff will also see to the supply, set-up, and instruction in the use of book rests and book weights. Materials should always rest on book cradles or on foams and must not be removed from their supports.

The exact order of unbound material in folders and boxes must be preserved. When a manuscript box is supplied, only one folder at a time must be removed from it, and it must be placed back in the proper sequence.

Permission to take digital photographs (flash prohibited) must be obtained from library staff ahead of time. Readers must not make tracings, rubbings, or marks of any kind in or on the library’s materials, nor should readers attempt to cut unopened gatherings in books.


Please notify library staff if you are taking a short break from the Reading Room. For longer breaks, or if you are planning on returning in the near future to continue working with the same materials, please notify library staff and the required materials will be placed “on hold” for you. They will be retrieved upon your return. Reserved materials can be held for up to 15 days from the last use.

All materials must remain where they were used in the Reading Room. Library staff will remove and rehouse materials. If you must clear your workspace, please ask library staff for assistance.


Readers may take digital photographs for reference purposes only. Permission to photograph materials is done on a case-by-case basis and must be made in advance using the Photographic Request Form, available at the Public Services Desk. The Library reserves the right to deny reproduction requests.

Before any material from the Library’s collections may be reproduced for publication, permission must be requested and obtained from The Rare Book & Manuscript Library. For more detailed information about reproduction services, copyright, rights and permissions, see the RBML Reproduction Services web page.

Questions regarding digital reproductions can be handled through our Ask a Curator form.


Curators are happy to provide reference assistance to all users, with onsite patrons receiving first priority. The Library’s staff are also able to provide reference assistance by mail, telephone, email, and fax, but please understand that due to staffing constraints, we are not able to provide in–depth research services. Questions are addressed in the order in which they are received, and response time will vary.

In all reference requests, please include your name and complete contact information, as well as your specific question. Please consult the staff directory, or use our Ask a Curator form.