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Rare Book Room Policies

Guidelines for using materials from the Rare Book Room

In order to preserve the materials in the collection, we ask that you comply with the following guidelines:

  1. Access to any book in the RBR is dependent upon condition of the item and the Librarian reserves the right to limit access on that basis.
  2. Pens are not permitted.  Pencils must be used at all times and rare materials must not be marked in any way.  Laptops are allowed.
  3. Only three rare book room items may be requested/viewed at one time by a single user.
  4. Rare book room materials are to be viewed on the table in front of you.  Book pillows or reading stands will be provided by the library staff.  Books should be supported as evenly as possible to prevent strain on the bindings.  Do not rest books on the edge of the table, prop them up against other books, hold them up off the table by the corners of the boards, or place in your lap. 
  5. Gloves are not required, but please wash and dry hands thoroughly before handling rare materials. 
  6. Handle rare materials gently and use discretion.  Turn pages slowly and carefully and use care when unfolding and re-folding maps and other inserts.  Use care with books that are brittle; some bindings cannot be opened completely without damaging the item.
  7. Do not mark, fold, or stress paper or bindings in inappropriate ways.  Do not use rare materials as a writing surface.
  8. If bookmarks are needed, the library will provide acid-free paper.  Please do not use your own paper, paperclips, rubber bands, Post-It Notes, etc., on rare materials.
  9. If you find unopened pages, please bring the item to the library staff.  Do not attempt to cut the pages yourself.
  10. Photocopying will be at the discretion of the Librarian.  Permission may be denied due to copyright restrictions or the condition of the item.
  11. Scanning or taking digital photographs of rare book materials requires permission from the Librarian.  The Field Museum Library reserves the right to regulate or prohibit photography to protect materials. Please see our Digital Camera Use Guidelines at the bottom of this page.
  12. Rare materials cannot leave the Reading Room.  If you need to leave the Reading Room for any reason, rare materials must be given to library staff.
  13. Please bring damaged materials, missing plates, etc., to the attention of the library staff.
  14. Return all materials to the library staff at the Reference Desk when you are finished.
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