What to Bring

All personal electronics brought into the library must be muted. Researchers using headphones with electronic devices must keep the volume at a level that does not disturb others using the library.

Computers

Researchers may bring laptops and tablets into the library, along with their power cords. Computers must be removed from their cases, and the cases must be stored in the lockers provided in the orientation room.

Laptops will be inspected by a library staff member each time a researcher removes them from the MHS reading room.

WiFi is available throughout the library.

Cameras

To allow researchers to create images of materials in our collections, cameras, cell phones, and power cords may be brought into the library. Camera cases must be stored in the lockers provided in the orientation room.

Researchers may photograph most materials in our collections. Materials protected by copyright and materials in restricted collections may not be photographed.

The camera's flash and all sound effects must be turned off.  Tripods, selfie-sticks, lighting enhancements, scanners (both flatbed and hand-held), and other related equipment are not permitted. At the discretion of a reference librarian, however, these items can be used under direct supervision on an appointment basis. There is a $45.00 per hour set-up and supervisory fee. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please review our policy and contact our reference department at 617-646-0532 or reference@masshist.org.

Any requests to take photographs, in the reading room or by appointment, may be denied if doing so jeopardizes the safety of our collections or is otherwise disruptive.

Research Notes

We urge researchers, if possible, to bring personal notes in electronic form on a laptop or tablet. Researchers are not allowed to bring notebooks, folders, pens, or loose-leaf notepaper into the library. If a researcher requires the use of personal notes written on paper, the Reader Services staff will copy up to 20 pages onto MHS-approved paper for use in the library.

MHS Provided Materials

MHS provides lined and blank notepaper, index cards, pencils, and magnifying glasses for use in the library. A reader services staff member will inspect researchers’ notes upon their exiting the reading room.

Researchers requiring additional equipment to enhance the accessibility of manuscript materials (e.g., readers, more powerful magnifiers) should speak to a reference librarian prior to their visit to have the equipment approved for use in the library.

Personal Belongings

Backpacks, briefcases, purses, computer cases or other bags, pens, notebooks, binders, and loose papers are not allowed in the MHS library. These items must be stored in the lockers in the orientation room.

Researchers may not bring outside books or manuscript material into the library. Exceptions may be made only at the discretion of a reference librarian.  In these instances, materials will be subject to inspection before they are removed from the reading room.

Outer clothing like sport coats, sweaters, and scarves may be worn in the reading room, but once removed, must be placed in a locker or hung in the coatroom. Loose clothing may not be draped on chairs or laid on tables in the reading room.

 

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