Reading Room

Getting Started

Everyone (not just librarians) has a responsibility to help preserve our past for future generations. While using our holdings, we ask researchers to do their part for preservation by following these simple guidelines.

  • Leave all food and drink outside.
  • Please sign our patron register each day upon first entering the reading room.
  • To view books or documents, simply complete a request slip and present it to our reading room staff. We will bring your items to you and give you a brief demonstration on how properly to handle our materials.
  • You may use our holdings only in our reading room. Nothing may be checked out or removed from the room.
  • Leave book bags, briefcases, large purses, heavy coats, umbrellas, etc., at the front of the reading room. You may take to your desk only pencils (please, no pens), blank sheets of paper, note cards, or laptops/tablets, which must be offered for inspection on request. We are not responsible for personal belongings left in our reading room.
  • The Reading Room Supervisor will give fifteen minutes notice before closing. We will neither retrieve nor scan documents after that time.

How to work with Rare Books materials

  • Please sit so that both you and the materials you are working with are visible, and that the reading room supervisor has an unobstructed view of your desk. Do not place items on your desk so that they block the supervisor's view of your work.
  • If items are in particularly fragile condition, the Reading Room Supervisor may ask that you use bookrests to support the item, or may require that they handle the item themselves.
  • We do not require gloves to be worn when working with our materials.

What to bring with you when you visit Rare Books

  • A camera. Researchers are welcome to take photographs of most of our holdings as long as they do not use flash and do not disrupt other researchers. We also allow camera tripods.
  • A laptop with power cable. Laptops are welcome in our reading room and electrical outlets are available. You will have only limited internet access in our reading room and may not be able to access cloud storage, so bring with you any portable storage you may need for digital files.
  • Pencils and paper. Ink pens are not allowed in our reading room because of the permanent damage accidental ink stains can cause. We have pencils and a sharpener available if you forget to bring pencils with you. Researchers are allowed to take to their worktables only pencils, paper for taking notes, a camera, and a laptop. Researchers are to place all other personal belongings on shelves at the front of the reading room. We reserve the right to inspect any papers on leaving.
  • A light sweater or jacket. We keep our reading room at a slightly cooler temperature for preservation purposes. If you will be working in our reading room for some time, you may occasionally feel the need for a light sweater.

How to Cite Our Holdings

  • Credit should be to "Item description, Tulane University Special Collections, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.".
  • When practical, please provide Tulane University Special Collections with a courtesy copy of publications or products made possible by research in our holdings.