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Using the Collections

special collections and archives reading roomSpecial Collections & Archives materials are available for use in the Special Collections Reading Room, and are not circulated outside that room except for exhibitions in the Library or at other institutions. Special Collections & Archives staff retrieves all collection materials from its stacks and other storage spaces for researchers to use in the reading room. To prepare for your visit, please review our Reading Room Guidelines below, as well as our Duplication Services.

For more information about using our collections, see our FAQs. For more information about how to find materials in Special Collections & Archives, see our subject guide.

General Guidelines:

  • Materials in Special Collections & Archives are non-circulating, and may only be consulted when the department is open. Materials requested within 30 minutes of closing will be available at 9:00 AM the following business day. See the Oviatt Library Service Desk Hours for our hours of operation.
  • To request materials, please present a current form of photo identification (either CSUN I.D., or government-issued photo identification, etc.) Researchers must also complete a Registration and Request Form before materials are paged.
  • Staff will issue researchers a key to a locker to store personal belongings such as backpacks, purses, briefcases, computer cases, and loose articles of clothing.
  • We prefer that your personal research material be stored in your locker. If necessary, staff can review and stamp personal research material before it is brought into the reading room.
  • Notes should be taken with the pencils and paper provided by reading room staff. For preservation reasons ink pens and mechanical pencils are strictly prohibited.
  • Digital cameras can be used with the flash turned off.
  • Please respect others in the reading room. If you need to talk, please keep your voice low.
  • Please silence your cell phone. If you need to take a call, please step outside.
  • No food or beverages, including water, are allowed in the reading room.
  • Special Collections & Archives reserves the right to inspect all research materials and personal articles before researchers exit the reading room. Please note that the reading room is monitored by surveillance cameras and recorded on video at all times.

Using Materials:

  • To ensure the preservation of Special Collections & Archives, we ask that researchers keep materials flat on the table at all times. Please do not lean on, write on, mark, fold, erase, or trace over special materials. If items require special handling, reading room staff will help you and provide specific instructions. Cotton gloves will be provided as needed.
  • One box or book is allowed on the table at a time. The exact order of documents, folders, and unbound materials must be maintained. Only one file folder may be removed from a box at a time. When removing a file folder, please insert the “Out” card provided to mark your place. Use the flags provided as place markers for duplication services.
  • If mistakes in filing or damage to materials are discovered, please alert Reading Room staff. Do not rearrange materials yourself.
  • Please let Reading Room staff know when you have finished working. If you plan to return, we can hold materials under your name for one week.

Please contact Special Collections & Archives staff with any questions prior to your visit at (818) 677-2832 or oviattsca@csun.edu.