Reading Room Procedures | Newberry

Reading Room Procedures

The majority of the Newberry’s collections are stored in its stacks building, where our staff will retrieve the materials you request and bring them out for you to use in the library reading rooms. To find items in the collections, search the Catalogs and Guides.

Reading Room Schedule, Tuesday - Friday

Reading rooms open at 10 am. Items may be requested until 3 pm.

2 pm: Photoduplication requests placed after 2 pm will not be completed until the following day.

3 pm: Circulation stops for the day. You are welcome to remain in the reading rooms and work with materials you already have, but no additional items–including items on reserve–will be retrieved during this hour.

3:30 pm: Vault materials must be returned to the Special Collections circulation desk.

3:45 pm: Please wrap up your research and start organizing materials for return. If you would like to place materials on reserve, please bring them to the desk and consult the staff member there.

3:50 pm: All materials must be returned to the circulation desks.

3:55 pm: Please vacate the computers, microfilm areas, and study tables and sign out at the circulation desk.

4 pm: Reading rooms close.

Requesting Items

After identifying relevant items, you can request them through the online catalog or online manuscript inventories. This can be done from anywhere inside or outside of the library. Materials will be retrieved once you are in the building and have signed into one of the reading rooms. General Collections items will be retrieved in the second-floor reading room. Special Collections items will be retrieved in the fourth floor reading room. For assistance determining which reading room to go to, please visit our Welcome Center or our Reference Desk in the General Reading Room on the second floor, or Contact a Librarian. In both reading rooms, desk staff will be available to assist with any questions you may have.

We request that each researcher plan to view no more than 12 requests per day at this time. Materials will be retrieved three at a time in the order that they are submitted, unless otherwise noted. Delivery time is typically between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on the number of other requests pending. We regret that we cannot retrieve requests in advance of your visit. We do, however, welcome advance notice of your visit, and if you Contact a Librarian we would be happy to verify the availability of items for you and otherwise assist with preparation for your visit.

Occasionally we are unable to bring out vellum or parchment materials due to unstable environmental conditions. For more information on our vellum handling practices, please see Reading Room Policies.

Using Manuscripts

Most of the Newberry’s manuscript collections are housed in the Roger & Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Please note that some collections may be closed due to processing. Contact a Librarian if you have any questions about the Newberry’s manuscript collections.

Placing Items on Reserve

If you plan to consult items for more than one day, you may place items on hold. To do so, please consult the circulation desk staff in either reading room. Items will be on reserve for you. If items are not placed on reserve, they will be quarantined and unavailable for at least four days.

Open Shelves

Some items are stored on the “open shelves” in the reading rooms and Reference Center. These books are no longer self-service and must be requested by making a manual request in our online request system. For assistance with making a manual request, Contact a Librarian. Open shelf call numbers have the following prefixes or location notes:

  • Ref: located in the Blatchford Reference & Bibliographical Center (third floor); for example: Ref BX841 .N44 2003
  • Local History Ref: located in the General Collections Regenstein Reading Room (second floor); for example: Local History Ref F548.25 .D86 2005
  • Chicago Browsing: located in the General Collections Regenstein Reading Room (second floor); for example: Chicago Browsing HA730.C5 L63 1995
  • Open Shelf Microforms: located in the General Collections Regenstein Reading Room (second floor).
  • Case Ref: located in the Roger & Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections (fourth floor)
  • Map Ref: located in the Roger & Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections (fourth floor)

For more information about rules, security and conduct, and the digital camera policy, please access Reading Room Policies. For digital imaging services, see Rights and Reproductions. Please Contact a Librarian if you have any questions.