Reading Room Policies

General Protocols

New Readers: All new readers and library visitors must register with Reading Room staff upon arrival. We register readers based upon demonstrated research need for the Clark’s collections. Be prepared to fill out a reader card, read and familiarize yourself with these Reading Room policies, and present government-issued photo identification.

Sign In and Out: Each day, readers and visitors must sign the sign-in sheet in the library’s orientation room. Be sure to sign out on the same sheet when you leave for the day.

Permitted Items: Only pencils, laptop computers and tablets (without their cases), cameras (including camera phones, with sound off), notebooks, and blank paper are allowed in the Reading Room. Voluminous personal papers, such as binders, folders, and similar items are not permitted. Phones are permitted with the sound turned off. Please place and lock all other belongings (including all bags, purses, wallets, carrying cases of any kind, coats, hats, pens, etc.) in lockers in the library’s lobby. Scarves and sweaters are permitted but when not in use must be placed in a locker (not on reading room tables). Please ask library staff if you have any questions about permitted items. Non-Clark books (including personal copies and those from other libraries) are permitted. Reading Room staff will check such books when you arrive and leave the library each day.

Food and Drink: Food and drink are not permitted in the library.

No Cell Phone Use: Cell phone use is not permitted in the Reading Room. Please silence all phones.

Respect Staff and Fellow Readers: We oblige all library users to show consideration towards fellow visitors and library staff, and to respect each other’s space and property. Our Reading Room is a quiet space. Please keep discussion to a minimum. The Clark’s smart classroom space is available for group consultation of rare materials. Anyone who does not follow these rules may be asked to leave.

Bag Checks: We inspect all bags, books, notebooks, loose papers, closed laptops, and other items that you bring into and out of the library.

Surveillance: Video cameras are installed and in use 24 hours.

Using Collection Materials

Requesting Materials: You may retrieve reference books shelved in the Reading Room yourself. Reading Room staff will retrieve all other Clark materials upon request. To request an item from the collections, fill out a call-slip. Use a separate call-slip for each item and be sure to fill out all call-slips completely, with particular attention to transcribing call numbers (including asterisks), titles, and dates. Note that the call-slips are in triplicate, so press firmly with your pencil. Please ask Reading Room staff if you have any questions.

Paging Limits: The library will accommodate your research needs as much as possible, but space and preservation considerations and the size and scope of materials require that readers may only view what safely can be accommodated on their desks at a given time. Readers are asked to view one bound manuscript, up to two rare printed books, up to three modern scholarly books, or one box of archival material at one time. Please let Reading Room staff know if you no longer need the item or if you would like to keep it on reserve.

Paging occurs at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm. Readers can submit up to three call slips per paging period. All call slips submitted after 3:30 pm will be paged the following morning. Due to space considerations, patrons are permitted to have no more than 10 items on reserve at a given time.

You Are Responsible for Items You Page: Note that you are responsible for any Clark materials you page until you return them to Reading Room staff. Do not share or exchange collection items with other readers. Instead, return the item when you are finished and then the next reader may page it.

End-of-Day: The Reading Room closes at 4:45 p.m. each day. All Clark collection materials must be returned by 4:30 p.m.

Handling Clark Collections with Care

Many Clark Library materials are rare or unique while others are in fragile physical condition. By following these rules, you help to preserve our collections for future use.

Keep Hands Clean and Dry. Please wash and dry your hands before handling Clark materials.

Handling Collection Materials with Care. Never lean on, place face down, or lay objects atop collection materials. Avoid touching surfaces, as ink can chip or rub off and paper can weaken. Never write on or erase marks from Clark materials.

Keep Clark Materials in Plain View. All Clark materials must remain on tables and in plain view of Reading Room staff during use. Do not hold them up or place them in your lap.

Using Bound Volumes: Use book supports for all Clark bound volumes. Do not force open books with tight spines or stack open volumes. Reading Room staff can provide additional book supports and book snakes to lightly hold pages open. Staff will also notify you if bound volumes must be viewed no wider than certain angles, usually 90°. Notify Reading Room staff if you encounter uncut gatherings and we may be able to open them.

Using Unbound Materials: Lay unbound materials on clean, flat surfaces. Keep archival items in existing order and inside the proper folder. If an item appears to be out of order, notify Reading Room staff; do not make the correction yourself.

Using Photographic Materials: The nature of photographic prints and negatives requires that you wear cotton gloves while handling them. Reading Room staff can provide cotton gloves. Keep all photographic materials in existing order and inside the proper folder and do not remove photographs from Mylar sleeves.

Use Paper Place Markers Only. Mark your place with slips of paper available from Reading Room staff; do not use pencils, sticky notes, or other objects.

Taking Notes: Use only computers, pencils, and notepaper to take notes. Ink is not permitted. Any paper notes should be kept neatly on your desk and clear of collection materials.

Damaged Materials: Please notify Reading Room staff if you find any items in need of repair.