Policies and Procedures

Our collections are open for research to members of the Rutgers University community and the public. In order to safeguard and ensure the preservation of our collections the following policies and procedures are in place:


Reading room rules

The New Jersey Reading Room is reserved for patrons using Special Collections and University Archives (SC/UA) materials. This also applies to the public service computer terminals at the reference desk.

  • Patrons must register using the SC/UA patron registration form in which they agree to abide by the rules to use our collections.
  • Patrons sign in and sign out upon each visit. When signing in current photo identification is required.
  • Only personal laptops, (silenced) phones, cameras, pencils, and note paper are allowed in the reading room. Bags, purses, coats, and umbrellas must be left in the Coat and Locker Room (locker tokens are supplied at the Information Desk).
  • Materials do not circulate and may not be removed from the reading room (microfilm excepted).
  • Food and beverages (including covered beverages) are not permitted.
  • Please avoid disturbing others by keeping a low voice and leaving the reading room before placing or taking a phone call.
  • Patrons leaving the reading room are required to notify staff.
  • Laptop computers and notes taken out of the reading room are subject to inspection.

Use and handling of materials

  • Patrons must use pencil; pens are prohibited.
  • Do not mark, erase, or lean on library materials. Do not hold books and papers but leave them flat on the table without extending over the edge.
  • Please keep hands clean, dry, and free of lotion.
  • Materials must be kept neatly in their original order. Advise staff of misplaced or missing items.
  • Only one folder may be used at a time. Please use place holders that are provided.
  • Patrons may receive two boxes, five volumes from the closed stacks, or five Genealogical Society of New Jersey (GSNJ) files at a time. Rare or fragile items may have additional restrictions.
  • Materials can be paged until 4:40pm. Please return paged materials to the reference desk. Books from the shelves should be put on the re-shelving cart before leaving. Please do not reshelve materials.

Photocopying and camera use

  • Patrons are allowed to make photocopies on a print-only scanner in the reading room for certain materials after consulting with staff on the reference desk. Copy cards are available in Imaging Services, down the hall from Special Collections and University Archives.
  • Cameras, both traditional and digital, are allowed in the reading room (ambient light only). Patrons must complete a Private Study Digital Photography Use Form, available at the Reference Desk.
  • It is the responsibility of each patron to keep complete and accurate citations for all items photographed,  including the collection in which an item can be found, and the place within that collection where it is located. Subsequent orders for high-resolution scans or requests for permission to quote cannot be processed without this information.
  • Patrons wishing to order photocopies or high-resolution images of SC/UA material should consult reference personnel and complete a Reproduction and Usage Request Form. For more information see Reproductions and Permissions.
  • Flatbed and other personal scanning devices are not permitted.

Restricted materials

Requests for permission to consult restricted manuscript collections and/or Rutgers University records must be submitted in writing and are considered on a case-by-case basis. Application forms for permission to use restricted materials may be obtained at the Reference Desk. For remote questions about restricted materials please contact our reference staff.


Microfilm use

There are no microfilm readers/printers in the reading room. Newspapers on microfilmare available in Imaging Services, down the hall from Special Collections and University Archives.

  • Patrons are required to use microfilm whenever available, including for copies of the Targum and for many city directories.
  • Patrons wishing to use microfilm from SC/UA collections must leave photo identification at the Reference Desk when taking film to be viewed in Imaging Services. Film should be returned to the reading room before 4:45p.m.

Requests for materials in off-site storage

A number of SC/UA collections are stored off-site.

  • Patrons requesting items from off-site must request the material three business days in advance to allow for the material to be delivered to the reading room.
  • Please contact us to to provide us with the name of the collections and box numbers of the materials that you would like to request or send us this information by email.
  • Due to storage limitation the maximum number of boxes that may be ordered per day is 20.
  • Patrons using materials from off-site must indicate which materials need to be kept on-site and which may be returned after each visit.