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Using the Library

Information for Readers.

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.
    • Cameras that cannot be silenced (including shutter clicks) and camera light attachments.
    • Flatbed scanners, portable scanners, copy stands.
  • 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.

Special Collections Reading Room

The Special Collections (Ahmanson) Reading Room is reserved for viewing rare (primary source) 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 attendant to obtain your holds and check out rare materials.

Rare materials are retrieved Monday through Friday at 8:30 am and 1:00 pm. Requests submitted after 1:00 pm will be retrieved the following day. No materials are retrieved on Saturdays.

Reading room appointments last three hours; the reading room attendant 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.

N.B. Readers scheduled for an appointment in the Ahmanson may use an open seat in the General Collections (Rothenberg) Reading Room when not working with rare materials on a first-come, first-served basis. No additional appointment for the Rothenberg is required.

General Collections Reading Room

The General Collections (Rothenberg) Reading Room is a quiet study space reserved for research with general collections (secondary source) materials, such as printed and published books, journals, magazines, and more.

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

You may check out or request up to 10 general collection items per day, with a maximum total of 20 items checked out at a time. Materials can be held for 60 days. To return an item, place it on the "Returns" book truck in the Rothenberg. The Huntington's collection is non-circulating; all materials must be used within the library.

The following General Collections stacks areas are open to readers:

  • Central Basement
  • Central Hallway
  • North Hallway
  • North Wing (Second and Third Floors only)
  • Rothenberg Balcony

Materials from these areas must be checked out at the self-checkout station in the Donno Lounge.

The East, South, and North Wing Basements remain closed to readers. You can request general collections materials in closed stacks areas through your My Library account. Instructions for setting up your account and requesting materials can be found on the My Library how-to guide.

  • Materials are paged twice daily: 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. Requests submitted after 1:00 pm will be retrieved the following day. No materials are retrieved on Saturdays.
  • Requested materials are delivered to the holds shelf in the Rothenberg. Find your materials by looking for the bookmark with the last four digits of your library card number.
  • For more information about holds, please speak with the attendant in the Rothenberg.

N.B. The Rothenberg is closed on Saturdays to both readers and staff. General collections materials on hold in the Rothenberg are unavailable on Saturdays.

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 attendant'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 attendant'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 handled 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.