What to expect when you visit

Because of the rare and unique nature of the materials in our collections, we have a few rules designed to ensure the security and long-term preservation of the collections.

So what can I expect?

As you approach the doors of the Reading Room you’ll see a set of lockers on your left. We ask that all users place their belongings in these lockers to minimize the risk of theft. The lockers cost a quarter to activate, and when you return the key you get the quarter back…so basically, they’re free! If you have trouble using the lockers ask for help from the folks at the front desk in the Reading Room. Items allowed in the Reading Room include laptops, pencils, cameras (you must fill out the appropriate form to use these), cell phones on silent as a courtesy to other researchers. We provide pencils for those who may have forgotten them and scratch paper in green. We ask all our users to use the green scratch paper as another way to keep our documents safe. If you have notes you want to refer to, we will hold them for you at the Reading Room front desk for you to refer to. Writing utensils other than pencils are not allowed. There is absolutely no food or drink  or chewing gum of any kind allowed in the Reading Room.

When you enter, head to the desk and one of our staff or volunteers will ask you to fill out our Conditions of Use form. Please make sure you fill out the ENTIRE form. Not only do we keep these for our own records and statistics, but we also use these in case someone leaves their notebook on the desk or their book bag in the lockers. If we only have a name there’s no way to contact you and let you know we have your missing item. If you plan to use a camera to take photos you will also be required to fill out our Camera Use Policy form. Please note that the restrictions on publishing photos prohibit posting them on blogs and on Facebook (for more information, see FAQs page). These forms are proof that you have read and understand the stipulations regarding use of our collections. Please make sure you read these forms thoroughly before signing them. Signing the form means you have read through it and understand the rules of access.

Before you leave the front desk area, you may also take a Call Sheet with you. You can fill out this form in order with the collections you wish to see. You can also use the scratch paper provided in the Reading Room to write down what you want to see and then transfer it to a Call Sheet when you come back to the desk. Either way works, just make sure you fill the Call Sheet out entirely. This helps us find information more quickly. The Reading Room has two public computers that you may use to search our online catalog. We also have a card catalog to refer to. Please note that our online catalog is a work in progress and that there are some things that the card catalog has that it does not. It is definitely worth searching in both places if you come in to the Reading Room. Once your Call Sheet is filled out you can bring it back up to the front desk. The people staffing the desk will retrieve the material for you to view.

We will ask you to initial underneath the “Out” on the Call Sheet when you take each item to look at. If you’re looking at photographs we’ll bring you gloves to wear. We ask that all our users wear gloves when viewing photographs, whether they’re encased in Mylar or not. The Arizona Historical Society’s collections (even the books) are non-circulating, so that means you must look at them here in the Reading Room. You cannot take them home with you. When you bring back your materials, we check them back “In” with our own initials. We do the photocopying, so you just need to let us know what things you want photocopied. Keeping things in order is VERY IMPORTANT in an archive, so please follow the rules about tipping the pages you would like photocopied the opposite way in the folder, keeping them in their original order. If you want pages from a book or magazine photocopied, write down the page ranges for us. We keep the photocopies behind the desk and when you’re ready to leave you can come up to the desk, pay for them and pick them up.

When you get ready to leave the archives for the day make sure you:
-Return all materials you were viewing
-Pay for and collect any photocopies you had made
-Collect all of your belongings both in the archives Reading Room and from the locker
-Snag a parking pass from the Front Desk of the Museum (if you parked in the parking garage)

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