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McCormick Library of Special Collections: Reading Room Policies


Special Collections Reading Room Policies

  1. Use of the Reading Room is reserved for patrons consulting Special Collections materials.
  2. Researchers are required to show a current valid photo ID.
  3. No food or drink is allowed, including closed water bottles.
  4. All coats, bags, brief cases, purses, etc. must be stored in the lockers or storage shelves at the entrance of the Reading Room. Northwestern University is not responsible for damage or theft of these items.
  5. Laptops and tablets may be used, but their cases or sleeves are not allowed in the Reading Room.
  6. No pens may be used in the Reading Room, only pencils. Pencils are available at the Reading Room desk.
  7. Cell phones and other electronic devises must be set on silent mode. Phone calls are not permitted in the Reading Room.
  8. Staff reserve the right to inspect all personal items (books, notebooks, notes, computer cases, etc.) upon the arrival and/or departure of any researcher when use of material is requested.
  9. Please be aware that researchers are under camera surveillance while in the Reading Room.
  10. Some Special Collections material is held in a remote storage facility and requires up to two business days for retrieval, so plan your visit accordingly.
  11. Requests for same day use of materials stored on site must be made before 4:30pm.
  12. Special Collections material must be handled with great care.  Foam supports will be provided for fragile books. Turn pages carefully, do not add or remove any marks, and do not lean or rest upon books or place other objects upon them. Ask staff if you want book weights to help keep volumes open. Please make sure your hands are clean.
  13. Manuscript and archival material is provided one box or folder at a time. If you are given a box please use only one folder from that box at a time and take care to maintain the order of the folders and of the items within each folder.  Paper flags are provided to help maintain folder order.
  14. Photographic prints and negatives may not be taken out of their sleeves without staff approval.  If approval is granted, gloves will be provided to wear while handling the photographic media and must be worn.
  15. Scanning and photography is only allowed with staff approval. Reproduction requests may be denied do to fragility or other considerations. Permission to copy in no way confers permission to publish or otherwise use images beyond standard fair use. See “Copying and Reproductions” section below.
  16. Portable scanners are not permitted in the reading room.  Only cell phone and small cameras may be used for photography.  No flash photography is allowed. Tripods and other bulky photographic equipment are not permitted. An overhead book-friendly scanner is available in the reading room. A thumb drive is useful for storage of scans made on that machine.
  17. All material must be returned to the front desk after use. Items to be used in the near future may be reserved at the front desk. All materials must be returned to the Reading Room desk no later than 4:50pm.
  18. All readers must abide by the following Non-Disclosure Policy: The materials that I have requested may contain Social Security numbers. I agree that I will not record, reproduce, or disclose any Social Security number that may be included in the materials that I have requested. I understand that violation of this Non-Disclosure Policy may result in the loss of research privileges.

Copying and Reproductions

Materials digitized, photographed, scanned, or otherwise reproduced are for use by library patrons for research, teaching, and private study. The supply of a digital or analog copy is not equivalent to permission to publish or reuse the material in any way beyond research, teaching, and private study. For other uses, such as broadcast, publication, or online distribution, permission must be obtained from the item's rights holder.

Responsibility for copyright clearance is assumed by the library user. Northwestern University Libraries cannot assist in obtaining copyright permissions except for materials for which Northwestern University is the copyright holder.

The requester assumes sole responsibility for and agrees to defend and indemnify Northwestern University and its Board of Trustees, officers, employers, and agents for all claims, demands, costs, or expenses (including attorneys’ fees) resulting from any infringement of the literary rights, copyrights, or other rights pertaining to this materials.