Library > Services > Ordering Rare Items > Guidelines for the Handling of Manuscripts, Rare Books and Archival Material

Guidelines for the Handling of Manuscripts, Rare Books and Archival Material

• Direct handling of the item must be kept to a minimum.
• Hands must by clean and dry before any contact with the item.
• Avoid keeping food and beverages in the vicinity of the item, including sealed water bottles.
• Avoid tearing or folding the pages.
• Do not place bookmarks, paper clips or any other foreign object on the material.
• Do not erase any writing or marks and do not write any notes on the item.
• Do not touch or rub the ink or illustrations. Gently leaf through the item using the edges of the pages.
• You may make notes on a separate paper, placed on the table, using pencil only.
• Do not keep pens or markers in the vicinity of the item.
• Always use appropriate support (received from the librarian responsible) in order to place the book in the proper position.
• The book should not be opened any wider than the angle it can easily achieve naturally and without strain.
• If a page needs to be held open, only use the weights provided to you and not any other object (you may request weights from staff).
• If papers must be unfolded (illustrations, maps, etc.), they must also be folded back to their original state after viewing.
• Do not leave the item unattend​ed without notifying a librarian.
• Photographs may only be handled when using gloves (supplied by a librarian).

The reader will be held responsible for any damage caused to the item by non-adherence to these guidelines. Some of the items are photographed before they are handed out for viewing.