Research Policies

Those interested in conducting research at the Rosenbach should review the following carefully. These sections explain general policies, access, security measures, and handling of materials, and publication rights. Please note that the Rosenbach maintains an active program of onsite exhibitions and loans to other institutions so that some materials may be temporarily unavailable to researchers.

Information for Researchers

The Rosenbach makes its library and fine and decorative arts collections available for research by anyone. While approximately half of our researchers are “traditional scholars”, academic faculty, and graduate students, we also welcome younger students and their teachers, artists, writers, librarians, collectors, curators, dealers, and others with inquiring minds. The reading room hours allow the Rosenbach to best serve all researchers by preparing the reading room and the requested materials in advance of each visit. Accordingly, the reading room may not be occupied before, between, or after sessions.

The Reading Room is open during the following hours:

  • Wednesdays: 10:30 a.m. — 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 10:30 a.m. — 6:00 p.m.
  • Fridays: 10:30 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

The reading room is closed for lunch each day from 12:30 p.m. — 1:30 p.m. The Rosenbach is also closed on all national holidays.

You must make an appointment in order to reserve the reading room during the available hours listed above. You may schedule an appointment here.


Researchers are required to produce photo identification on their first visit to the Library. This may take the form of an institutional identification card, a driver’s license, or passport. Researchers will be asked to complete a form indicating the topic of and goals for their research.


Use of materials in the collection is subject to carefully observed security measures designed to balance the needs of the researcher with the protection of the material. Briefcases, purses, computer cases, etc., are not permitted in the reading room. (Lockers are available for use during the day.) Books are permitted only by special arrangement. Books and papers brought in by researchers may be inspected by staff before leaving the reading room. Researchers are given only limited amounts of material at any one time. Researchers’ personal property – suitcases, computers, etc. – may not be left on the premises overnight.

Handling of Materials

Readers are expected to handle materials with great care. Only pencils are to be used for note-taking. Pages are to be turned carefully, and no weight except a booksnake (provided) should rest on books or manuscripts. For some materials, use of a book cradle (provided) is mandatory. Readers should be careful not to disturb the physical association among items. If something appears to be out of order in a file, readers should mention it to a staff member rather than correcting the situation themselves. Works of art on paper should be handled by their mats only. The text and illustrations of books and manuscripts should never be touched. A staff member will provide guidance in handling all materials.

Use of Electronic Equipment

The Reading Room is equipped with hookups for your personal computers, typewriters, and voice recorders. Researchers may bring a digital camera and take their own photos after filling out a form; consult the staff for details. The use of flash, tripods, and portable scanning equipment is not permitted. Researchers will be asked to discontinue use of any equipment which disrupts the work of other patrons.

Use of Images

For information regarding copies, photographs, and digital images please check out our Images & Permissions page.