Reading Room Policies

The Special Collections Reading Room will be open every weekday from 9 am to 5 pm., with the exception of holidays. View the library's full hours schedule here: We encourage researchers to schedule an appointment by logging into their Special Collections Request System account or creating a new account (accessed from the gold box on our website). Walk-in researchers are also welcome as long as the reading room is not already at capacity. 

The Special Collections Reading Room is also open one Saturday each month from 9 am to 1 pm by appointment only. Fall 2023 dates are September 16, October 7, November 4, and December 9. Appointments can be made through the Special Collections Request System. 


Special Collections materials are open to all who desire to consult them; no affiliation with LSU is required. However, to protect materials and ensure that they will be available for future use, visitors must complete the following procedures and respect the following rules:

  • Sign in at the Public Services Desk in the lobby and present a photo ID on each visit.
  • A secure locker will be provided for personal items like bags, briefcases, purses, laptop cases, outerwear, and umbrellas.
  • No food, drinks, or pens are allowed in the Reading Room. We also do not allow personal scanners that require contact with documents. 
  • Create a Special Collections Request System account during (or before) your first visit and read the “Guidelines for Handling Materials” notice in the Reading Room. The account will allow you to schedule appointments and request materials to view. 
  • Shelving areas are only accessible to library staff. Items are requested via patrons' research accounts (see above) and are retrieved by staff for use in the Reading Room.
  • With very few exceptions, materials may not be taken out of the building.
  • Some materials are stored offsite and require 72 hours advance notice for retrieval. In the catalog, these items will be marked "remote storage" in the location field and will have an Access Restriction note. Talk to a staff member for assistance placing requests from offsite storage.   
  • Unprocessed materials require a curator's permission
  • Self-service photography of most collection materials is welcome after completion of a Camera Use Policy form, obtained from reference desk staff. 
  • Items currently on exhibit will not be available for research or instruction use unless special approval has been requested in advance and agreed upon by library staff. In some cases, a digital surrogate may be available to the researcher. Contact Special Collections to submit a request. 

What can I bring into the Reading Room?

  • A pencil and notetaking paper (additional paper and pencils are available in the Reading Room).
  • Laptop computers (including chargers), eletronic tablets/pads, cameras, and cellphones. Computers and cameras must be taken out of their cases.

If additional materials are required for your research, please consult the staff member or student worker at the Public Services Desk in the lobby. Be aware that anything brought into the Reading Room is subject to search before you leave.