Today: Special Collections in Hornbake 10:00am - 4:00pm, by appointment only

Visiting the Reading Room

Visit the Maryland Room, located on the first floor of Hornbake Library, the reading room for Special Collections and University Archives to view materials from our collections.

Panoramic photograph of the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library

Plan Your Visit

Schedule an in-person appointment    Contact us with your research question

Review the Get Started guide for information on searching and requesting material from our collections.

Review the Visit Us page for hours, parking information, and directions to the Hornbake Library.

  • Appointments are required to view materials in the reading room. 

Check the status of your requests before visiting the reading room in your Special Collections Account.

  • Materials listed as "On Hold" are ready for you to view during your visit.

When You Arrive

Sign in at the welcome desk.

Place personal belongings in a locker before entering the reading room.

  • Food and drink, pens, bags, coats, scarves, gloves, and other personal belongings not listed below should be placed in a locker.

Items you may bring inside the reading room include:

  • Pencils
  • Laptop (no bag)
  • Notebooks and/or books
  • Digital camera (no bag)
  • Cell phone (please refrain from taking phone calls inside the reading room)

Contact us in advance to discuss using a tripod or any other equipment in the reading room.

Inside the Reading Room 

Staff in the Maryland Room will ask for your name and bring out the cart of materials placed "On Hold" for your visit.

  • If this is your first visit to the reading room, you will be asked to present a government or university-issued photo ID

Ask the staff member in the Maryland Room if you need access to the Wi-Fi or public computers in the reading room.

Equipment available in the Maryland Room:

  • Book Scanners (for use with published materials only, no scanning of archival collections allowed)
  • Digital Microfilm/Microfiche Reader
  • Computers
  • Lightbox (for viewing slides)
  • USB Drives (may be borrowed while inside the reading room)

Handling Special Collections Material

The cart of material you have requested will be brought to a table and staff will explain the guidelines for handling special collections and archival material.

  • Handle all special collections materials with care. If you have a question about how to handle materials, speak to the staff in the reading room.  
  • Place one box on the research table at a time.
  • Remove one folder at a time.
  • Use an out card to keep track of the folder you remove from the box to ensure folders stay in order.
  • Maintain the existing order and arrangement of folders in the box, as well as items in the folders.
    • Do not remove items from a folder.
  • Leave material flat on the table, turning pages gently one at a time.
  • Use gloves when handling photographs.
  • Do not take materials out of the reading room.
    • Staff monitor researchers entering and leaving the reading room.
  • View up to 3 items on the research table at a time.
  • Keep all other objects clear of the items.
    • Do not take notes on top of material, lean or press down on material.
  • Do not fold pages, force binding open, or prop bound items open.
    • Foam book cradles and book weights can be provided for oversize or fragile items.
  • Use care when turning pages.
  • Consult the staff in the Maryland Room before scanning any materials on the book scanner.
  • Do not take any materials out of the reading room.
    • Staff monitor researchers entering and leaving the reading room.

Copying and Scanning Material

Use a digital camera or mobile phone to photograph material. 

  • Personal scanners are not permitted in the reading room

Onsite overhead scanners may be used to for published materials only

  • Scanning archival material on the overhead scanners is not permitted.
  • Consult staff at the reference desk before scanning material.
  • Scanning books and published materials may be disallowed if the item is considered too fragile and may be damaged in the process of scanning

Duplication of archival material must be completed by special collections staff (unless using a personal camera or phone). 

  • Consult staff in the Maryland Room if you would like to request copies of materials from an archival collection.
  • Identify material you are requesting to have copied by gently wrapping a flag around each item.
    • Keep all material in the original location within the folder and box.

Please note the following:

  • View Duplication Policies before placing an order.
  • Depending on the type and amount of materials to be copied, there may be a cost associated with the duplication order.
  • You are responsible for determining copyright, lawful use of material, obtaining any required permissions, and paying any required fees.
    • The University of Maryland does not hold copyright in most materials in the collections of the Libraries.


Frequently Asked Questions    Have a Question? Contact Us!