Reading Room Policies

Reader in the reading roomGiven the age, rarity, and fragility of most of its collections, AAS maintains a closed-stack library. This means readers cannot browse the shelves themselves, with the exception of the collection of bibliographies, reference works, and genealogical aids in the reading room. All other collection materials may be requested through the online request system My Web AAS either directly from the catalog, or after consulting finding aids, or card catalogs. Staff members will retrieve the requested items and bring them to the readers at the reading room tables.

Readers are responsible for the use and return of materials they have requested and may not lend or exchange them with other readers. All collection materials should be handled as little as possible with clean, dry hands. Books and pamphlets must be examined in book cradles.

Additional reading room policies, such as special seating and handling requirements, will be explained during the new reader orientation.

Readers are welcome to take their own photographs, for research purposes only, according to the reading room photography policies. Readers' Services staff can provide a limited number of photocopies or pdfs. Information on obtaining digital images intended for publication is available as a step-by-step guide


Items Allowed in the Reading Room

For the security of AAS collection materials, only pencils, loose papers, notebooks, and laptops may be brought into the reading room. A few other items are allowed, subject to the following restrictions:

  • Personal books may be brought into the reading room, but must first be registered with the receptionist.
  • Cameras are allowed in the reading room. However, the use of a flash, tripod, or other special equipment is not permitted.
  • Cell phones may be brought into the reading room if the ringer is turned off. Please answer calls in the reception area rather than the reading room. A telephone booth in the reception area may also be used for local calls.
  • The reading room is often cool, which might be uncomfortable for some readers. We encourage you to bring a sweater if you are concerned about the temperature, but we do not allow coats or outerwear in the reading room


Items NOT Allowed in the Reading Room

No pens or bags of any kind (including purses, briefcases, or any other enclosures) may be taken beyond the reception area. Coat racks and lockers are provided for outerwear and personal items.

Food and drink is not allowed in the library. Readers may bring lunches to the Goddard-Daniels House, located across the street at 190 Salisbury Street, or ask at the receptionist for a map of local restaurants.


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By appointment:
Monday: 9-5
Tuesday: 10-5
Wednesday: 9-5
Thursday: 9-5
Friday: 9-5

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