Kislak Center
for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

 Reader Services


Reading Room Access
All readers are welcome to consult special collections materials in the Kislak Center reading room and the Library at the Katz Center during our regular hours.

Appointments at the Kislak Center reading room are not required, but researchers with special interests or those wishing to consult large collections may wish to contact us in advance so that we may provide assistance. Some collections are stored offsite and are not accessible except by prior arrangement. Non-PennCard holders must make arrangements with staff ahead of time if they wish to visit the Kislak Center reading room during examination periods or if they plan on arriving after 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Note that the Kislak Center reading room is only available for consulting special collections materials, not for general study.

Appointments at the Library at the Katz Center are required and may be made by emailing staff at cajs@pobox.upenn.edu.

To contact reading room staff at the Kislak Center and for general questions, please email rbml@pobox.upenn.edu .

Registration & Policies
Upon entering the reading room reception area, please show the receptionist a current, valid photographic ID. Your ID card will be held at the reception desk during your visit. If you are visiting for the first time, you must register online to create a Special Collections Research Account before requesting any materials. To save time at the reading room, patrons may choose to register online before visiting.

All personal belongings must be stored indesignated areas.

Laptop computers, small cameras, pencils, secondary material, and reference books may be brought into the reading room. Pencils and paper for notes will be available. All other items, such as pens, highlighters, markers, tripods, and flatbed or hand scanners are not allowed. Flash photography is prohibited. All items being brought into the reading room will be inspected by the receptionist before you enter and again as you leave.

Absolutely no food or drink is allowed in the reading room or adjacent study rooms.

All cell phones should be left on silent mode. We ask that patrons refrain from talking on cell phones while they are in the reading room.

Requesting and Reserving Materials
Collection materials may be requested using a Special Collections Research Account. Once you have created and logged into your account, you may request materials directly from our catalog and finding aids. Computers will be available for your use, if needed, and staff will be available to answer any questions. Staff will endeavor to deliver onsite materials promptly, but may limit the number of items you can request or consult at one time. Special collections materials may only be used in the reading room.

Some of our collections are stored offsite and retrieval will take at least one business day. Consult one of our staff members to determine if the materials you need are stored offsite.

For quicker access on return visits, you may place materials on hold. Materials that have not been consulted for over two weeks will be reshelved.

Handling Materials
We ask that researchers arrive in the reading room with clean hands; restrooms are located nearby. Staff will provide instruction on the proper handling of collection materials. For book requests, book cradles and weights will be provided. For manuscript requests, please retain the order of the materials contained in the box or folder and keep each manuscript flat on the reading room table as you work with it. Readers may only consult one box or one folder of manuscript materials at a time. Any questions about the condition or handling of specific items should be directed to staff.

Copyright Restrictions
Researchers must make a written request to the Penn Libraries for permission to publish any materials from its special collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure any necessary additional permission from the appropriate copyright holder to quote, publish, or reproduce items from Penn's special collections, and to acknowledge in print that the materials are used or published with permission of the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania assumes no responsibility for copyright violations or for any other legal issues resulting from the use or publication of special collections materials.

Requests to publish the unpublished writings of Theodore Dreiser or unattributed photographs in any manuscript collection should be directed to David McKnight, Director, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, dmcknigh@pobox.upenn.edu.

Requests to publish material from the Edgar F. Smith Image Collection, the Furness Image Collection, or from printed books should be directed to Lynne Farrington, Curator of Printed Books, lynne@upenn.edu.