Reading Room Policies

The Archives and Rare Books (ARB) serves as a scholarly resource to faculty, staff, and students of Washington University and provides information services to researchers, scholars and to the general public.  Reading room hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by appointment.  All users of ARB materials are requested to observe the following policies.

  1. All rare books and archival material must be used in the reading room. They may not be borrowed.
  2. Researchers are not allowed access to the storage areas unless accompanied by ARB staff.
  3. The guest register must be signed when a researcher enters the reading room.
  4. All researchers using ARB materials or services must complete and sign a research form.
  5. Guests may keep only those materials needed for research at their table. Bags, purses, food, drinks, and any other personal articles must be kept in the lockers provided in the reading room.
  6. The use of pens and indelible pencils is not permitted while using ARB resources.
  7. Archival materials and rare books must be handled with great care. ARB resources may not be leaned on, written on, traced, folded or handled in any way that may damage them.
  8. When using rare books, rest the volume securely in a book cradle. Do not force open volumes more than 120 degrees.
  9. When using archival materials, remove only one folder from a box at a time. Do not remove materials from the folders. Maintaining the exact order of material in a folder is of singular importance. If a mistake in arrangement is discovered, please call it to the attention of the ARB staff. Do not rearrange material yourself.
  10. Photocopying and scanning ARB resources is possible when it can be done without damaging the materials, and when it does not violate donor agreements or copyright restrictions. All photocopying and scanning is to be done by ARB staff, and any request for duplication can be refused if the volume of the request will tax staff time and resources. Ask ARB staff for instructions on how to properly flag materials to be duplicated.  See the Fee Schedule for reproduction charges. Note that permission to duplicate does not constitute permission to publish.
  11. Rare books and archival material may be photographed by researchers only if permission is granted by ARB staff.
  12. The use of certain materials is restricted by statute, by the creator, or by the donor. TheARB staff reserves the right to restrict access to archives and rare books which are not arranged or fully processed. Additionally, access may be denied to items that are exceptionally valuable or fragile. In some cases, facsimiles may be substituted for the originals.
  13. The researcher accepts full legal responsibility for observing the copyright law, as well as the laws of libel, invasion of privacy, and property rights.
  14. The ARB reading room may be used for ARB-related research only. The reading room may not be used not as a study area, meeting area, or for any other non-ARB-related function without ARB staff permission.