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Many of Library Special Collections holdings are stored off-site at the Southern Regional Library Facility. Readers are advised to request materials in advance in order to avoid delays when coming to campus.
To request Special Collections materials, please visit the UCLA Library Special Collections REQUEST SYSTEM (Aeon).
Due to space constraints and high-level use of materials, paging limitations are in place for materials used in the Ahmanson-Murphy Reading Room. Requests to use archival and manuscript materials are limited to 5 boxes per day. Retrieval of on-site holdings is limited to 5 items per hour.
Materials Access and Use Policy
The UCLA Library's primary responsibility is to students, faculty, and staff affiliated with the University of California (UC). However, the Library makes its resources available to others whenever possible and when it does not conflict with its primary mission. Accordingly, Library Special Collections (LSC) welcomes all non-UC researchers eighteen years of age or older. Researchers not affiliated with UCLA, the University of California system, or with other UCLA contractual agencies may occasionally be asked to reschedule consulting the LSC's collections due to lack of reading room space.
In order to protect and preserve the collections, materials administered by the department do not circulate, but are available in the department's reading rooms. Any researcher wishing to use LSC's materials is required to complete and sign a patron registration form and give information about the subject, scope and purpose of the research being undertaken.
Upon arrival at Library Special Collections, all researchers must present a government issued I.D., valid UCLA Library card, or a valid UCLA student identification at the department's reference desk. This identification is required for each visit and required to allow entry into our reading rooms. Registered readers agree to abide by protocols designed to maintain the integrity of materials, ensure their preservation, and provide for long-term access.
Access to Library Special Collections materials is provided in our two reading rooms:
- History and Special Collections for the Sciences materials are accessed in the Special Collections for Medicine and the Sciences reading room (located in the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library).
- All other Library Special Collections materials are accessed in the Ahmanson-Murphy reading room (located in the Charles E. Young Research Library).
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. the use of libelous statements or the invasion of privacy) for which the UCLA Library assumes no responsibility.
Many of Library Special Collections holdings are stored off-site at the Southern Regional Library Facility and as such readers must request materials in advance. We ask that researchers request all items at least three to five working days before their anticipated date of arrival. Paging requests are submitted directly through through one's LSC Aeon account.
Due to space constraints and high-volume use of materials, paging limitations are in place for materials used in our reading rooms. Requests to use archival and manuscript materials are limited to five boxes per day. Retrieval of on-site holdings is limited to five items per hour.
Reading Room and Viewing Regulations
LSC's reading rooms are only for researchers using special collections material. Appointments are not required for LSC visitors. Seats are provided to researchers on a first-come, first-served basis. If the reading rooms are full at any given moment, we will place you on a waiting list and allow entry as other researchers exit.
Researchers must store all personal belongings--coats and jackets, bookbags, purses, computer and camera cases, and any other items not essential to their study--in the provided lockers. The following items are also not permitted in the readings rooms:
- food or drink
- pens or highlighters
- chewing gum
- electronic scanners
- white paper or personal notes (unless approved by Public Services staff)
- stick-on notes
Pencils and notepaper are provided by reading room desk attendants.
Only LSC staff may cut unopened book leaves. If you require assistance with this, please ask the reference desk attendant to page a Public Services staff member to consult with you.
Users may access one folder of manuscript material at a time, one box at a time; bookrests must be used with all books. The order and arrangement of materials must be preserved; please notify the desk attendant of any irregularities.
All material must remain in plain view on the reading room tables and be kept as flat as possible. Nothing may be placed on LSC material, except bookweights.
Material may not be left unattended for longer than 30 minutes. If it is necessary to leave the room for a longer period, please pack-up your belongings so that the seat may become available for any individuals waiting to enter the reading rooms.
All items are subject to examination upon entering or exiting the reading rooms.
Photography in the Reading Room Policy
UCLA Library Special Collections is pleased to allow the use of digital cameras on a controlled basis to facilitate the research needs of our users. The following policy outlines the necessary expectations and requirements for use of digital cameras in our reading rooms, which is subject to copyright laws, donor-imposed restrictions, and specific conditions and arrangements for preservation.
Use of digital cameras is subject, but not limited to, the following conditions:
Approved uses and procedures
- Readers agree that photographs are for personal study purposes only and may not be reproduced, donated or sold to another repository, published, or exhibited.
- It is the responsibility of every reader using a digital camera to complete a Digital Camera Use Form at the reference desk noting the items they wish to photograph. The form will be retained by LSC.
- Some collections have donor-imposed restrictions that prohibit duplication in whole or in part. Photography must be prohibited for these collections.
- Fragile, damaged or restricted items will not be duplicated in any way.
- Materials lent to UCLA LSC via Interlibrary Loan (ILL) may not be digitally photographed or reproduced in any way by readers, unless specifically allowed on the loan agreement.
- If an item is known to have a publicly-accessible digital surrogate, readers will be referred to that online surrogate.
Prohibited equipment and settings
- No personal scanners, tripods, camera flashes, extension cords or special lighting. Audible features on the camera must be turned off.
- Cell phone ringers must be turned off or the phone placed in "airplane mode."
- Readers may be asked to take a test shot to demonstrate that the flash component of the camera is deactivated before proceeding.
Appropriate care and handling and prohibited handling
- Materials must be handled properly and with great care.
- Bound volumes must be supported in a book cradle; no pressure can be applied to the bindings.
- Loose manuscript material must remain in its folder and kept in order at all times. Documents must be kept flat on the table, and cannot be held up to obtain a better image. Cameras must not be left to rest on top of materials. If leaves are fastened together, please see a desk attendant before proceeding.
- Items in Mylar sleeves may not be removed from their sleeves.
- No pictures may be taken of the room itself, other readers, or the staff.
- Readers may not stand on chairs, place materials on the floor, or rearrange furniture to get a better image.
Any instance of flash photography, mistreatment and/or damage to materials during photography will result in an immediate termination of the privilege. The library reserves the right to deny requests or revoke photographic privileges for any reason.
Researchers will sign a policy prior to entering the reading room. They will then be issued a photography permit that should be displayed at their seat at all times.
Duplication Services Policy
Due to the fragility and rarity of materials, LSC staff mediate all duplication requests. Requests for duplication are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and approval is contingent upon the materials physical condition, donor restrictions, and / or intellectual property rights considerations. Library Special Collections limits the total number of copies any one patron may order within a six-month period, so please plan to conduct research onsite if you will need to access large quantities of material. Fees are assessed on a cost-recovery basis. Please see the Library Special Collections Services Fees schedule for more information.
Submitting a Request
All patrons, regardless of whether or not they visit the department, should fill out the Duplication Request Form and submit it through their LSC Aeon account. Orders cannot be processed without this form. Duplication requests are processed in the order received and turnaround times vary depending upon the kind and number of originals to be reproduced. We can provide an estimate on request.
Publication or Commercial-Use
Patrons who wish to use Special Collections original materials in an exhibit, publication, performance, or broadcast must order high-resolution copies, submit a Request to Publish Form, and complete a license agreement with the Library. Depending on how the image will be published, licensing fees may apply. We cannot grant permission to publish reproductions of works (text-based, pictorial, or graphic) for which we do not own the copyright. It is the researchers responsibility to contact the copyright holder to obtain a letter, signed in blue ink, approving the use of reproductions for any particular project or publication.
The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.