Using the Archives (Reading Room)
Unlike a library, materials in archives are not made available for browsing by the public. Due to the unique, rare, and often fragile nature of the materials, procedures are in place to ensure the security and longevity of the collections. Whether a first-time visitor or a returning researcher, reviewing the policies of the archives is recommended.
Upon arrival, new researchers are required to complete a registration form. All researchers must provide a photo ID; this will be kept by staff until the researcher completes his or her visit. The researcher will be asked to place any bags, coats, and other personal belongings into a locker. Only pencils, paper, digital cameras, and mobile devices are permissible in the reading room.
Once seated, the reference archivist will give instruction on proper use of the material as well as any special treatment necessary for the item or items selected. The reference archivist will remain in the reading room to provide any assistance. Scans and photocopies of materials are available in most cases for a small fee. Researchers interested in photographing items must receive permission. Alert the reference archivist if interested in any reproductions. Copies are provided for personal research use only and may not be published without permission.
What to expect when visiting the Archives:
- Due to complexity, fragility, storage, size, and the manner of organization in an archives, researchers will need assistance finding material.
- Talk to an archivist about your interests, they can point you in the right direction!
- Give yourself plenty of time to work with staff and the materials retrieved for you (care, patience and attention are required).
- Be prepared to wait for copies if you need them.
- Ask about databases and website access to collections: photograph database, electronic books, inventories of manuscript collections and Institute publications.
- Expect to review descriptive tools which explains the content and organization of a collection.
Policies and procedures in the Archives and Special Collections are different than Folsom library’s general collection.
- We keep a confidential record of patrons through registration procedures.
- We require patrons to work in the designated Fixman Research room on the 3rd floor of Folsom Library.
- We require that patrons place all personal items such as bags, backpacks, and purses away from the table they are occupying.
- We have strict policies against pens and food or drink around the collections.
- We have “closed stacks.” This means patrons must request materials.