The main entrance to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center is now open. Van Pelt Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library are currently open to Penn Card holders, Penn affiliates, and certain visitors. See our Service Alerts for details.

Kislak Center Reading Room


Charles K. MacDonald Reading Room
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, 6th floor
3420 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
Phone: 215-898-7088


10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for occasional holidays.

Nagasaki miyage. Kislak Center Tress Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books copy presented to the Penn Libraries in 2018.

Reader Services

Materials kept by the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania are available to anyone who wishes to consult them. Researchers can access materials by appointment in the Charles K. MacDonald Reading Room.

Register as a Researcher

First-time researchers can request materials and schedule visits by creating a Special Collections Research Account. Returning researchers can schedule an appointment by making requests with their research account. For additional assistance making a research account, making requests, or scheduling your visit, please email us at

Requesting Materials

Researchers can request materials from finding aids or the online catalog. Some collections are stored off-site; retrieval will take approximately two business days.

Accessing the Reading Room

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. The receptionist may inspect items being brought into the reading room before you enter and again as you leave.

Phones, cameras, laptops, tablets, and any charging cables are permitted. Paper and pencils will be provided.

Lockers in the reception area are provided to store bags, laptop sleeves, pens, and any food or drink. No food or drink is allowed in the reading or adjacent study rooms. Flash photography is prohibited.

Collection Use

Researchers are asked to arrive in the reading room with clean hands. Reading Room staff will provide instruction on the proper handling of collection materials. Book cradles and weights will be provided when appropriate.

Researchers may only consult one box or folder of manuscript materials at a time and are asked to retain the order of the materials in the box or folder.  Keep each sheet of paper flat on the reading room table as they work with it.

Multi-day Visits

Materials may stay on hold for several days at a time. Materials that have not been consulted for over two weeks will be re-shelved.

Remote Access

To support remote access to our collections, we offer reprographic services. Users may request 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 Restrictions

Researchers must request permission to publish any materials from its special collections. It is the researcher's responsibility 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 the permission of the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania assumes no responsibility for copyright violations or any other legal issues resulting from using or publishing special collections materials. Please direct all permissions questions and requests to

Teaching and Learning at the Kislak Center

The Kislak Center welcomes students and instructors to study its collections in our seminar rooms on the 6th floor of Van-Pelt Library. Using our collections, we seek to enhance classroom learning by connecting with instructors and creating individualized, object-based experiences. All learners are invited to explore and analyze special collections materials.