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Research Room Rules

Welcome to the Research Room

The Research Room is a facility for using materials belonging to the New York State Archives and the State Library - Manuscripts & Special Collections, which are part of the New York State Education Department, Office of Cultural Education.

Researchers must comply with these "Rules of the Research Room." U.S. citizenship and New York residency are not required. Individuals age 18 or older are can register and enter the research room. Those younger than 18 may do so with permission of staff. 

Access to materials in the State Library and the State Archives is governed, as applicable, by various state, and federal laws, including the N.Y. Freedom of Information Law (for records in the Archives), U.S. Copyright Act, and the U.S. Patriot Act.

Researcher Registration

Yearly registration. A researcher must complete the registration form once each calendar year.

Picture ID required. During registration, a researcher must present at least one form of picture identification with an address. The identification must contain the same postal address or affiliation entered on the registration form. Staff may ask a researcher to produce current identification at any time after initial registration and may require a new registration if identifying information has changed.

Storage lockers. Secure lockers are provided to researchers who need to store personal belongings. The locker must be emptied and the key must be returned when researcher leaves for the day. The State Library and State Archives are not responsible for lost articles.

Entering and Exiting the Research Room

Sign-in/out log book. A researcher must sign the log book daily when entering the Research Room and sign out when leaving for the day.

Inspection of items taken from Research Room. Each time a researcher leaves the Research Room, he or she must show to staff at the reference desks all belongings taken from the Research Room.

Closing time. Notice of closing the Research Room will be given at about 4:00 p.m. At 4:30 p.m. all research materials will be collected and equipment will be shut down. Staff will be available for consultation until 5:00 p.m.

Reserves. Research materials may be placed on reserve for up to two weeks, or longer by special arrangement. Materials not used within the specified time will be returned to storage.

Research Aids Permitted in Research Room

Researchers may have the following items in the Research Room:

  • pencils (provided)
  • loose paper
  • notecards
  • notepads (available)
  • spiral notebooks (without pockets)
  • folders (without pockets)
  • mobile phone (ringer and alerts silenced)
  • laptop computer or tablet (without case)
  • digital camera (hand-held)
  • external hard drive/USB drive
  • hand-held cameras (without case)
  • magnifying glass (available)

The following items are not permitted in the Research Room:

  • three-ring binders
  • folders and spiral notebooks with pockets
  • pencils (mechanical)
  • pens
  • scanners
  • computer and camera cases
  • overcoats
  • briefcases and suitcases
  • handbags and pocketbooks
  • backpacks and fanny packs
  • food and drink

Reasonable accommodation. A researcher may ask a supervisor about arranging for a reasonable accommodation for a special need.

Internet access. Wi-Fi connectivity is available. Internet access is provided for collections-related research. Public-access internet stations are available on the 7th floor.

Retrieving Materials for Use in the Research Room

Retrieval schedule. Archives and Library materials stored in the Cultural Education Center (CEC) are retrieved starting at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. with delivery times usually 30-45 minutes later. Vault items and materials stored outside the CEC should be requested at least one week in advance. Frequently-used Archives microfilm and vital records microfiche indexes are stored in the microforms area of the Research Room and may be retrieved anytime.

Retrieval request forms. A researcher must fill out separate retrieval request forms for materials in the State Library (blue forms) and State Archives (green forms). Retrieval requests should be submitted to the Archivist or Librarian on duty  15 minutes prior to the scheduled retrieval times.

Using Materials in the Research Room

Registered researchers only. Only registered researchers may enter the research room, except for brief consultations with staff.

Room use only. Research materials do not circulate, but many State Archives microfilms are available on interlibrary loan.

Assigned seats. Each researcher is assigned a reading table or a microform reader. Reading table seats and microfilm reader-printers may be reserved in advance by phone, e-mail, or U.S. mail. A microfiche reader may be reserved only in person, on the same day as the planned use.

Delivery of materials. Inform staff when you need materials delivered to your table or microform reader and/or are finished with materials. (Microfilms and vital records microfiche indexes in the microforms area are self-service.)

One cart/one box/one volume. One cart or truck containing research materials will be delivered to a researcher at a time. A researcher should use one box or one bound volume on a reading table at a time. Use materials only at your assigned table or microform reader. If you have questions about the materials, ask staff to come to your table.

Time limits. Staff may limit times at a microform reader or reader-printer if there is a waiting list.

Research Room quiet area. Be considerate of fellow researchers. For extended conversations, go to the catalog-consultation area, the interview room, or the lobby.

Handling Materials in the Research Room

  • Remove one folder or item from a box at a time, making sure to keep the materials in order. Mark the place with a paper tag (provided by staff).
  • Handle research materials carefully. Use a book weight and book cradle (provided by staff) to hold bound or folded materials open.
  • Write only on your paper placed on the table top. Do not write on top of research materials.
  • Use cotton gloves (provided by staff) when handling photographs or other materials requiring special protection.
  • Leave all materials in place, in the order you find them. Do not rearrange files; report any apparent misfilings to staff.
  • Use paper slips for marking pages or documents to be copied.