Primary Source Literacy at USC Libraries & Beyond

Reading Room Guidelines & Procedures

Once you have requested materials to view in Special Collections' reading room and received an email from us that those materials are "on hold" for you, you may come to our reference desk (Doheny Memorial Library, Room 209) to check in to the reading room. No appointments are necessary but please make sure to check the hours our reading room is open on our website, as hours may vary.

During the Covid19 pandemic, special rules apply and access to physical materials in Special Collections may be restricted - make sure to check the most current information on our website.

Watch the video below to learn more about our reading room guidelines & procedures.

When you arrive at the Special Collections reference desk, please let the staff person on duty know that you have materials on hold. They will provide a locker key to you and ask you to store all personal items in the locker.

The only items you may bring into the reading room are: a laptop (no sleeve, a power cord is ok), a pencil, phone (sound off).

You may not bring: food or drink, a pen, papers (like a notebook, note paper, etc). 
Should you need paper and/or a pencil to take notes, we will provide those to you happily.

If you would like to take photos of the materials you are consulting, please ask the staff on duty if this is permitted. A few of our collections are restricted and may not be photographed (but most are okay to be photographed).

If you plan to take photos, make sure to do so without flash as the flash can harm the materials.

The staff at the reference desk or our student monitor will also provide you with a foam cradle in case you are working with rare books. The cradle protects the book and is required.

We will also ask you to only consult one item at a time (one book, or one folder from an archival collection). If you are working with an archival collection, your box will be placed on a small black cart next to the table, so that you may easily retrieve and consult one folder at a time. Placeholders to mark where the folder was placed and needs to be returned in the box are also provided and use of placeholders is required.

Let's see if you remember the Special Collections reading room guidelines and procedures.
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Header Image: USC Libraries Reading Room. By Paula Goldman for USC Libraries

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