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Shepherd University's Archives and Special Collections: SUASC Reading Room Rules

Archive Reading Room Rules

While the SUASC provides a paper copy of the policies of the Archive Reading Room for users to sign when they are ready to use materials housed there, on this page, an overview of expected practices and the reasons behind a few of the rules is provided.

Entering the Reading Room

Place your coat, hat, purse, backpack, and other personal items in the cubbies by the door.

This is a public space; more than one researcher may be present at one time in the Reading Room and large, bulky personal items can be a hindrance to comfort and mobility.

Before requesting an item, please read both sides of the paper Archive Reading Room policies document, ask questions if you do not understand something, and sign and date it.

The paper copy of the form acts as your agreement to follow the rules of the policy and as your ID to use the archives materials. Most archive items will be used only inside the Archive Reading Room under the supervision of archive staff. The exceptions to this include microfilmed materials.


Requesting Materials

Please fill out (to the best of your ability) an Item Request Form for each archival item you wish to view.

Even if you request multiple boxes of items, only one box at a time will be brought to you for viewing.

This limit is imposed to ensure materials from one box do not get placed in another and accommodate the archive staff's handling of unwieldy boxes as we come through doorways with them.


The limit of requested books brought out from either archive space is three books.

Please refer to the above rule for an explanation of its enforcement.


While most materials will only require clean, dry hands to safely use, please ask for gloves before going through photographs.

Gloves (white) prevent oils from the hand from harming the photographs or their negatives.

Viewing and Using Materials

The archive staff will provide pencils and paper for all note-taking.

Pens are unwelcome writing instruments in the Archive Reading Room.


Interact gently with the archive material. If a container has folders or items, please look at one folder or item at a time.

The materials you are studying may be fragile. Do not write on them, lean on them, remove anything from them, or attempt to "fix" any perceived or actual misfiling, no matter how much you wish to be helpful. Bring any potential errors in record filing or material handling to the archive staff member on duty.


If a document, photograph, folder or object falls off the table while in use, please alert the staff member in the room to retrieve it for you. It is better if the responsibility for potentially damaging the material is taken by the archives staff member than by you, the researcher.