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John Hay Library

Reading Room Regulations


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Use of Materials in the Reading Room

All Special Collections material is non-circulating and may be consulted in the Reading Room only. Unauthorized removal of any item for any reason may result in loss of John Hay Library readership and study privileges, and prosecution under the General Laws of Rhode Island, Title 11, Chapter 14.5 and 14.15.

Security Matters

Only those books and papers necessary for research are permitted in the Reading Room. Readers must leave coats, briefcases, book bags, knapsacks, large handbags, parcels and other personal property in the coatroom. Secure lockers are available. Personal computers are permitted; cases must be left with the Reading Room monitor. All papers, folders or any other materials taken into the Reading Room, including personal effects, must be presented for inspection to the monitor before a reader may remove them from the Reading Room. Upon sufficient grounds, a reader may be detained and searched under the provisions of the General Laws of Rhode Island, Title 11, Chapter 14.1.

Note Taking

Pencils are the only writing implements allowed in the Reading Room while library materials are in use. A supply is available at the Reader Services and Reading Room desks. Please return them before leaving.

Handling Materials

Please exercise all possible care to prevent damage to materials: Materials should be laid flat on the table, should not be placed face down, rested on another book, or in held in one's lap.

Book rests are available to help support reading materials; special weights (snakes) are available for holding pages open; acid-free tags are available for use as markers. Marks or annotations should neither be added nor erased. Tracing or rubbing is not permitted. Please do not write on paper laid on top of books (whether the books are open or closed).

Please turn pages gently. Readers should not attempt to cut unopened pages. Such books should be brought to the attention of the Reading Room monitor.

Use of Manuscripts

Manuscript materials are examined one folder at a time. Please maintain the exact order of items within a folder; acid-free tags are provided to mark the place from which a folder is removed from a box. The table directly in front of the Reading Room desk is reserved for users of manuscripts.

Returning Materials

Materials must be returned to the Reading Room monitor whenever you leave the room. Non-Brown IDs will be returned by the Reading Room monitor when all items have been discharged.

Damaged Materials; Errors Discovered

Readers are encouraged to bring to the attention of the staff all items in need of repair as well as suspected cataloging errors or misfiling of materials.

Other Regulations

Smoking, eating, drinking, and cell phone use are prohibited in the Library.