About our reading room

Everyone is welcome to use our collections in our reading room. You don't need an appointment to visit us. Our hours can change if we are closed for a holiday or special event, so be sure to check our hours before you come in. See details about parking and how to find us.

We encourage you to explore our collections before you visit to become familiar with any collection you want to access. 

Caring for our materials

We have specific guidelines and expectations for using our reading room. Due to their fragile nature, materials can only be viewed within our reading room and can't be checked out. For an introduction to our space and how to use our services please see our video tutorial on using Special Collections.

These expectations ensure the preservation and long-term accessibility of materials held in Special Collections. Everyone, staff and researchers alike, are subject to these expectations. We seek a safe, comfortable, and welcoming environment for your research and preservation of materials for future users. We share this responsibility with you.

If you have any questions or concerns – including concerns about staff, service, conduct, or mishandling of materials – please ask to speak to a Special Collections staff member at the desk.

General expectations

  • No food, drinks, candy, or gum.
  • A valid photo ID is required (e.g. government issued ID, University ID, etc.)
  • Please store personal items (bags, purses, briefcases, jackets, notebooks, notepads, binders, etc.) in a locker. Staff reserve the right to inspect any items brought into the Reading Room upon entry or exit.
  • Pencils only in the reading room. No pens, highlighters, white out, post-it notes, or unauthorized tags.
  • Staff will assign seating.
  • At the circulation desk, you will find pencils, ruled paper, and place markers.
  • We have free WiFi you can use in our reading room.
  • Theft and mutilation of materials are a crime. No researcher may remove materials from the Reading Room at any time.
  • While we encourage researchers to always ask for help and to work collaboratively, please keep volume to a respectful level. Please let staff know if your research is disrupted by conversations.

How to request materials

  • All patrons need to fill out an On-Site Form and the Online Reading Room Form upon arrival.
  • While walk-ins are welcome, visiting researchers can ask us a research or reference question ahead of time to help us better prepare for your visit.
  • Please use one manuscript folder or one photograph folder at a time.

Devices and research photography

  • Phone calls should be taken in the lobby or outside.
  • Devices such as laptops, tablets, cameras, and cell phones (silenced) are allowed.
  • Research photos may be taken without a flash or additional lighting.
  • Our self-scanner with book cradle is available for free public use. A USB is needed to store scans.
  • No personal scanners, articulable arms, tripods or lights, no standing on stools or ladders.
  • Please do not manipulate materials or original order to improve images. Never remove any materials from transparent enclosures.
  • Take images in a way that records origin for future reference and citation.

How to handle and use our materials

  • Clean, dry hands preserve material.
  • Do not wear gloves when handling paper materials.
  • Nitrile gloves must be worn while handling photographic materials, and if you wear nail polish.
  • Collections must always be within the line of sight of the staff member at the desk.
  • Handle all materials with care. Do not lean on items, write on them, or alter them.
  • Keep documents flat and completely on the table – not hanging off the edge.
  • Use a book cradle for all bound volumes.
  • Do not place anything under or on top of collection items.
  • Do not write on anything on top of collection items. Never add or erase marks.
  • Please help us maintain the original order of all unbound material. Please use the provided place markers whenever removing items from boxes or folders.
  • Remove one folder at a time from a container and return it before removing another.
  • Do not remove photographic materials from protective sleeves.
  • Please bring concerns about handling, condition, damage, or original order to staff. We are here to assist you and preserve the collections.

Restricted access

  • We may restrict access to fragile materials at any time.
  • We may require the use of facsimiles, digital or otherwise, unless you present a compelling need for originals to a librarian or archivist.
  • We may limit or deny access to unprocessed collections, those with donor restrictions, or those where cultural, intellectual, and privacy rights are at stake.

Duplications and publishing

  • You may request duplications and permission to publish materials for a fee.
  • All requests are considered with preservation and collection restrictions in mind.
  • We request complete citations whenever publication, performance, or display involves our materials. Suggested format: “[Name and manuscript number of collection, box and folder numbers, and/or other unique identification info], courtesy of University of Arizona, Special Collections”
  • Access to materials does not imply permission to publish.
  • You assume responsibility for determining if U.S. Copyright law protects any materials you reproduce, and whether your use exceeds fair use. U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, U.S. code) governs reproduction and provides for fair use (§107) for various purposes, including teaching, scholarship, and research. We do not claim to control all rights to materials in these collections. You assume responsibility for clearing rights if you publish or broadcast.


We support the participation of people with disabilities in academic pursuits at the University of Arizona and in lifelong learning. We provide access to research materials and services through reasonable accommodations, such as readily accessible adaptive technology and software, special equipment, and personal assistance.