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Indiana State Library

Library > About the Library > General Information > Policies of the Indiana State Library > Rules Governing the Use of Manuscripts Rules Governing the Use of Manuscripts

1. No eating or drinking is permitted in the Manuscript Reading Room.

2. Place personal property, including coats, briefcases, purses, bags, backpacks, umbrellas, and computer cases, in the designated storage area.  Only materials needed for research, such as, pencils, paper, research notes, and lap top computers, will be allowed to rest on the table tops while Manuscript materials are being used.  Anything brought into the Reading Room is subject to inspection upon leaving.  The Library is not responsible for lost or stolen items.  Use of electronic devices must be approved by the Manuscript Librarian.

3. The researcher must have a current registration on file, indicating the subject(s) and purpose of research. A new form must be filled out annually.  Patrons will be asked for photo identification in order to use library materials.  The signed registration form shall constitute an acknowledgement that the patron will abide by the rules and procedures outlined on the registration form. 

4. Use of materials may be restricted by the donors or by the Manuscript Librarian. The library reserves the right to restrict the use of fragile materials and of collections not yet processed.

5. Patrons may not remove manuscript materials from the reading room. All materials must be accounted for before the researcher leaves the reading room. THEFT OR MUTILATION OF MANUSCRIPT DOCUMENTS IS A CRIME WHICH MAY LEAD TO PROSECUTION.

6. Only pencils may be used in the reading room.

7. Please turn cell phone ringers off before beginning research. Please step out of the Manuscript Reading Room if you need to have a cell phone conversation and other patrons are present.

8. Handling of Manuscript Material

  • The order and arrangement of papers within a folder are to be kept in the order in which they are presented to the researcher. One folder at a time should be removed from a box and examined, then returned to the box before examination of another folder.  Only one box may be on the table at a time.
  • Materials must remain flat on the table during use. They are not to be placed in the lap, propped against the table edge, or held in your hands to read. Request books props if you need to have materials at a more comfortable viewing angle.
  • Researchers are asked to handle materials with clean hands, turning pages slowly and carefully. Staff will provide gloves when patrons view un-sleeved photographs, negatives, or other fragile materials.
  • Except for special weights provided by staff, no elbows, papers, books, or other objects may be placed on manuscript materials.
  • No marks are to be added or erased from documents.

9. Retrieval of vault material is available until 30 minutes before closing. Patrons will be requested to stop and return materials 10 minutes before closing time.

10. Reproduction of any manuscript materials must be approved by library staff.  Reproduction of bound volumes or fragile items will be at the discretion of the Manuscript Librarian. The Indiana State Library reserves the right to restrict copying from any of its collections and to deny requests for copies. 

All photocopies and scans will be made by the library staff.  Use of a personal scanner or digital camera (including a cell phone) is prohibited.

11. Photocopies and scans cannot be made upon demand.  Copies and scans will be made when staff time allows and mailed to the researcher with an invoice.  A list of the Library's fees and fines can be viewed online.

12. Manuscript collections CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in their entirety.  Photocopies and/or digital images cannot exceed 25% of a collection. Copies of manuscript material are made for private study, scholarship, or research use only; they may not be published or reproduced in any fashion without written permission of the Indiana State Library. If you anticipate publishing or exhibiting any original material from the ISL collections, request an "If You Plan to Publish" form. Possession of an ISL image does not constitute the permission to use it.

Revised August 2007