How to use special collections at the APRL

In September, the APRL Board of Trustees approved a new circulation and collections access policy for the library. The new policy makes a few updates to our book lending policy and adds a section on accessing rare books, special collections, and archives.

A researcher studies archival material in the library
A researcher studies archival material in the library

Almost everything in the library is available for borrowing by APS members, either in person or by mail. The exceptions are items which are needed for reference in the library, items which are too fragile to send through the mail, or items which would be difficult or impossible to replace. In general, this means:

  • the most recent edition of the Scott catalogs (unless we receive a second copy)
  • the Rare Books collection
  • Special Collections and Archives

Books in the Closed Stacks section are for in-library use only, but may be borrowed with permission from the librarian.

Researchers, both members and the public, are welcome and encouraged to use items from Rare Books, Special Collections, and Archives at the APRL. We ask that you follow these rules, and any special instructions from library staff, to help us protect our valuable resources:

  • Contact the APRL at least 3 business days in advance of your visit to ensure that materials can be made available in the reading room. This is especially important while the new library is under construction as access to some areas of our collections may be temporarily restricted. Sometimes an interest in archival material will arise during a researcher’s visit and we will make every effort to accommodate requests.
  • Use material in locations designated by staff. It is important to keep the work area clear of bags, briefcases, purses, coats, and other items not necessary for research.
  • No food, drinks, chewing gum, or tobacco products are permitted in the reading room and please wash and dry your hands before handling archival material. Food and drink can damage collections and also leave residue that attracts pests.
  • Take notes in pencil only to avoid accidental marking or staining from ink.
  • You are welcome to use the APRL’s copying and scanning equipment or your own equipment, but please request permission from library staff before making any photographs, scans, or copies.
  • If you want to publish images or excerpts from archival material or to publish or present research based on archival material, you are responsible for determining the copyright status and obtaining permissions. Please give credit to the APRL and cite your source. We will provide suggested citations and guidance.

Complete rules for using special collections are in the circulation policy. If you are interested in special collections or have questions about our policies, please contact me.