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Using the Library

Information for Readers

Ahmanson Reading Room

The Ahmanson Reading Room is reserved for viewing rare materials, including rare books, manuscript collections and visual materials. The reading room is accessible through the Reader Services office. Visit the how-to guide for information about requesting rare materials through Aeon, our online system.

When you scheduled your reading room appointment, you were assigned a table. Check yourself into your assigned table by scanning the QR code at the table or by following the link in your appointment confirmation email.

All rare materials are held at the Ahmanson circulation desk. Please see the Ahmanson supervisor to obtain your holds and check out rare materials.

Reading room appointments last three hours; the reading room supervisor will notify you when there are 15 minutes left in your appointment. At the end of your appointment, bring the rare materials to the circulation desk. You may return the materials or keep them on hold for your next visit. Materials may be held for up to two weeks.

Reading Room Policies

We ask all readers to observe the following policies while using the library.

  • The following items are not permitted in the Rothenberg and Ahmanson Reading Rooms:
    • Backpacks, bags, purses, laptop/tablet sleeves.
    • Pens, correction fluid, highlighters, post-its, staplers, paper clips, scissors, glue.
    • Beverages and food items.
    • Flatbed scanners, portable scanners, copy stands (SLR and DSLR cameras are allowed without a flash and if if they can be silenced).
  • Please observe these additional policies in the Ahmanson Reading Room:
    • Readers may request up to five rare items per appointment.
    • Electronic devices must be set to silent. Headphones are permitted but must be kept at low volume as to not disturb other readers.
    • Digital photography is allowed as long as the device is set to silent and the flash is turned off.
    • Please use the pink paper provided by the reading room staff. Loose-leaf paper and personal notebooks are not permitted.

How to Handle Rare Books, Manuscripts and Visual Materials

To ensure the long-term preservation of our collections, we ask that rare materials are carefully handled as follows:

  • Keep all bound materials in cradles during their use and photography. Book cradles are provided at the Ahmanson supervisor's desk. General collection books do not require cradles.
  • To turn a page, lift the top corner and gently slip your fingertips down the edge.
  • Use book weights to hold pages open. Book weights are provided at the Ahmanson supervisor's desk.
  • Avoid touching the surface of text, illustrations or illuminations.
  • Items enclosed in a plastic sleeve must remain in the sleeve.
  • Photographs and negatives unprotected by a plastic sleeve should always be used with gloves provided by reading room staff.
  • Never force open a volume with a tight binding.
  • Wash and thoroughly dry hands, taking care not to apply sanitizing gels or lotion, before consulting rare materials.
  • Avoid leaning on or stacking materials.