Policies for using materials in Special Collections & Archives

The Special Collections & Archives reading room is for materials that do not circulate because of their rarity, fragility or unusual format. Both staff and users have the obligation of preserving these materials for future use. Persons using Special Collections & Archives materials must abide by these guidelines for the protection of the materials. Please leave coats, bags, knapsacks, briefcases and other possessions not essential to your work in the coat closet or lockers. Sign in on the Daily Register of Researchers.

Obtaining materials

Materials in the department's care are brought to users by staff members; this is not a self-service or browsing department, except for reference works. All materials must be used in Special Collections and in many cases, they must be requested in advance. Fill out the library's 2-part request form for printed books and single items; discuss archival or uncataloged materials needs with the staff. Non-Wesleyan users must also fill out a User Registration Form and show photo identification.

About 90% of the rare books are included in CALEB, Wesleyan's online catalog. In addition, some of the archival collections have online finding aids on the SC&A website. We also have various card files and other finding aids. Please feel free to consult the staff about your informational needs or about any problems or difficulties you have in making use of Special Collections & Archives materials.

All materials should be handled with extra care:

  • Use pencils only; no ballpoints or fountain pens, please.
  • Your hands should be clean; preferably freshly washed.
  • Keep materials flat on a reading table or in a foam cradle. Do not lean on them, mark them,  or take notes on top of them.
  • Turn pages or leaves gently. 
  • Keep any loose material in the order in which you find it.
  • Report any mis-arrangements, mutilations or unopened leaves.

Materials are issued for the exclusive use of the person requesting them. Drinking, eating, chewing gum, and smoking are not permitted in the Special Collections area.

When you leave, please return your materials to a staff member. Let us know whether you have finished using them. If not, we will keep them on hold for as long as you request. For the security of our materials, we reserve the right to examine your notes or personal property upon departure.

Reproductions (Photocopies)

Requests should be made in writing on the Request for Reproduction form. Markers are available for keeping your place. Copies will be made as expeditiously as possible within the context of other departmental operations, subject to the needs noted below.

Photocopying is ordinarily done for you by staff members, usually within one or two working days of the request submission. The charge for Wesleyan community members is .10 per copy.  The fee for non-community members is .50 per copy.  The fee for off-campus orders above 10 pages is .50 per copy plus 3.50 for shipping.

Digital Scans

Digital scans may be made of materials that will not be harmed in the scanning process.  The fee for digital scanning is $2.00 per image for Wesleyan community members and $5.00 per image for non-community members. If images cannot be transferred electronically, there is a charge of $2.00 to burn items to a CD.


Photographic reproductions are done outside the library. Staff will make special arrangements with fees arranged depending on the material and the process. The usual fee for an 8"x10" glossy black & white print is $10 for a new photograph and $5 for a reproduction from an existing negative.


The library may refuse requests for reproduction when the condition of the original will not permit it or when the originals were received with gift, purchase or legal restrictions on reproduction. The library may limit the number of copies made at any one time or for any one user because of limitations of staff or facilities. The library reserves the right to retain negatives made in producing copies.

Personal Digital Camera Policy

Use of personal digital cameras is permitted in the reading room on a case-by-case basis. Images of materials photographed in the reading room should not be used for publication or on a website without permission from the Head of Special Collections.

Items to be photographed must be examined by the staff of Special Collections and evaluated for physical condition, copyright issues, and donor restrictions. The staff of Special Collections reserves the right to deny any request for reproduction that may damage the material to be copied or may constitute a violation of copyright law.

Once approved, an appointment will be made for the researcher to take the digital photo in the presence of a Special Collections staff member. The staff member will provide a target sheet that must be photographed with each digital image to identify the material as being housed in Special Collections & Archives at Wesleyan University.

Access to manuscripts and other original materials

Permission to examine original materials will be granted to researchers for specific purposes, upon completion of a user registration form and an introductory interview with a librarian. This permission is dependent upon the materials, the amount of processing, in some cases the staffing available, and any restrictions imposed by donors or depositors. We recommend that you contact us in advance. Permission to consult does not carry with it permission to publish, which must be requested separately in writing.

Copyright and other laws

Users of materials at Wesleyan accept full legal responsibility for observing the copyright law, as well as the laws of libel and invasion of privacy and property rights.