Guidelines for using Archives and Special Collections

The Archives preserves materials (published and unpublished, in all media) documenting the origins, development, activities, achievements, and people of Macalester College.  These guidelines serve to facilitate access to and use of the collections in a way that will ensure their continued preservation.

Before you arrive

  • Request materials in advance. The Archives and Rare Books are closed stacks; small quantities of materials will be brought to you. Materials must be used in the Reading Room or be under the care of a library staff member at all times.
  • Help us learn about who uses our collections and in what ways! We require all researchers to provide their name, contact information, and general topic of research.

When you arrive

  • Wash hands thoroughly¬†before handling any items.
  • Store personal belongings (backpacks, handbags, coats, etc.) away from any materials. We will show you where you can leave personal belongings while working in the Reading Room.
  • Follow guidelines for handling materials; we will show you how to do that. This may include wearing cotton gloves or using book cradles when handling particular items.

What to bring

  • Bring a pencil and paper to take notes (we will have some too), and a smartphone or other device to take photos of materials you might want to reference later. Laptops and tablets are also allowed in the Reading Room.
  • Come with curiosity! Think about the stories these items tell (or keep quiet).

What to leave at home

  • Keep food and beverages away from materials. Food and beverages can damage our materials and should not be consumed while working with our collections.
  • Pens, markers, or any other medium that could cause permanent marks should not be used.