Address and Contact Information

Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19104-6206
Accessibility information: See Kislak Center homepage

For All Visitors to the Kislak Center Reading Room

The Kislak Center’s MacDonald Reading Room, on the 6th floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center is open by appointment to anyone who wishes to consult special collections material. The room is not available for general study. The reading room is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday except for occasional holidays.

Everyone must show a current, valid photo ID to enter Van Pelt Library, and again when signing in to the reading room. Your ID will be held at the reading room reception desk during your visit.

All users will need to make an account in the request management system at so staff can organize the material to be seen. University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and staff should use the “affiliates” button; others should use the “visitors” button.  Once signed in to the Aeon system, users will be able to request material to view either from finding aids or records in the online catalog.

Some collections are stored off-site and retrieval will take approximately two business days.

To schedule an appointment, and for assistance with making an Aeon account or making requests, please email

Users are welcome to bring phones, cameras, laptop computers or tablets, and any charging cables, into the reading room. Flash photography is prohibited. All items being brought into the reading room may be inspected by the receptionist before you enter and again as you leave. Paper and pencils are available inside. Bags (including laptop sleeves), pens, and any food or drink must be stored in lockers in the reception area. Absolutely no food or drink is allowed in the reading room or adjacent study rooms.

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.

To support remote access to our collections, we offer increased reprographic services. Users may request on-demand digitization of special collections material for up to 100 pages for free, depending on the condition of the material and any copyright restrictions. Requests can be submitted via the Special Collections Research Account form. For more information, please contact:

Copyright note: 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.