Skip to main content

Using Special Collections and University Archives

This guide provides information on finding, requesting, and using materials from Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland.

Reading Room Guidelines


- Food or drink is not permitted in the reading rooms. This includes candy, gum, lozenges, and water.

- Bags, coats, scarves, gloves, computer bags, and other personal belongings are not permitted in the reading rooms. We provide lockers to securely store your belongings.

- Please use only pencils to take notes. Pencils are available at the reference desk. Laptops (without cases) are permitted.

- Cameras (without flash) are permitted for personal research.  Researchers must request permission to use a tripod or other specialized equipment.

- In consideration of other patrons, all phone conversations should be taken outside of the reading room.

- Researchers using manuscripts, archives, and rare books should sit in the front row of reading room tables

- Thank you for helping us keep or collections safe and in good order for future researchers. If you have any questions, please contact us or speak to the librarian in the reading room.

Using Special Collection Materials


Special collection materials are unique and irreplaceable. To help preserve our collections, we ask that researchers handle all special collection material gently and with clean hands. Reading room staff will provide instruction on the proper handling of special collections materials in the reading room, including: 

For researchers consulting manuscripts:

  • You may view one box at a time on your table. Please take only one folder out at a time.
  • Leave all material flat on the table, turning leaves gently one at a time.
  • Please maintain the existing order and arrangement of material. Do not remove anything from a folder for any reason.
  • Gloves are required when handling photographs.

For researchers consulting books:

  • You may use up to three books at a time.
  • Do not lean on, trace over, write on, fold, force bindings open, or prop bound items open. 
  • Reference desk staff will provide foam book cradles and book weights for fragile or oversize items