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Special Collections

Reading Room Guidelines

  • Please sign the guest register.
  • Researchers are allowed only note-taking items when using photographs, manuscripts, rare books, Hackley or Harwell materials.  A locker within the Reading Room will be provided to store all bags, coats, hats, briefcases, handbags, backpacks, folders, books, newspapers, and other belongings.  Locks are not supplied.  Researchers may bring their own lock. The Detroit Public Library assumes no responsibility for items placed in the lockers.
  • Researchers using photographs, manuscripts, rare books, Hackley or Harwell materials must sit at one of the three large tables near the reference desk.
  • The completion of a user card is required.
  • Researchers may use one folder or rare book at a time.
  • Materials must be handled with care.  The Librarian will advise on the proper handling of items.
  • Use of hand sanitizing wipes, provided by staff, before handling manuscripts or rare book materials is mandatory.
  • If plugging in a laptop computer, please borrow a surge protector from the reference desk. The Detroit Public Library assumes no responsibility for damage to a user's laptop or other personal equipment used at the Library's facilities.
  • Photocopying of materials must be authorized by the Librarian.
  • Photographs and postcards may be photocopied; they may not, however, be reproduced with a camera or scanner.  Digital reproductions may be purchased from the Library using the Special Collections Reproduction Order Form.
  • Use of digital cameras and scanners for other materials is permitted with approval of the Librarian. 
  • Cell phone use is prohibited in the reading room.  Please turn off or set to vibrate.  Cell phones may be used in the main hallway.
  • Food and drink are not allowed in the reading room.
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