Using the Reading Room
The purpose of the DeGolyer Library is to acquire primary materials, to arrange and describe them, to preserve them for the future, and to promote their use by scholars and students. In this effort, the DeGolyer Library grants permission to access materials to scholars, advanced students, undergraduates, and visitors not affiliated with Southern Methodist University in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined below. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm and closed on University holidays.
When you arrive:
Researchers are required to fill out an Application for Use form as well as supply photo identification before they can examine DeGolyer Library materials. This form must be renewed at the beginning of each new academic year. You can complete the form when you arrive at the front desk, or to save time, you can print, complete, and sign the form and bring it along with your current photo identification.
What should I bring with me on my visit?
Only items necessary for research are permitted in the reading room: pencils, paper, laptops (removed from protective sleeves or bags), and digital cameras or cell phones (with flash and sound disabled). Food or drink is prohibited, and individual lockers are available at no charge for backpacks, purses, briefcases, coats, pens, highlighters, notebooks, and other personal property not allowed in the reading room. All materials taken in or out of the reading room are subject to examination by front desk staff.
Requesting and handling materials in the reading room
Library materials may be used only in the reading room. No item will be circulated or used elsewhere for research under any circumstances. Use of materials from the collections are subject to carefully observed security designed to balance the needs of readers with the protection of materials.
Readers need to complete a call slip for each item they wish to use and turn it in at the library's front desk to be paged. All material must be returned to the front desk at the end of each use. The library reserves the right to limit the number of items issued to a researcher at any one time. A limited number of items may be placed on hold for use in the immediate future or for regular return visitors over a short period of time.
All materials must be handled with great care. Make sure your hands are clean before handling materials. Readers who are careless will be denied access to the collections. Items should be returned in the same order in which they are received. If the researcher uncovers damaged or misplaced items, he or she should notify a staff member.
Book cradles and weights are available to support materials and to hold pages open with the least amount of handling. Keep materials flat on the table or in a book cradle at all times. Do not place books, papers, or other objects on top of library materials or write on paper with manuscripts, books, or photographs underneath. Please ask for assistance if you find an item is difficult to handle or unfold or if you need further instruction in handling rare materials.
Gloves are required when handling all photographic materials. Never touch the emulsion side (front) of the photograph. Always pick up a photograph with both hands supporting the image from underneath. All items must remain on the table while being used. Nothing may be placed in the lap or propped upright. Please contact our curator of photographs for additional information on how to handle prints and photographs.
Permissions and reproductions
In most instances, the DeGolyer Library owns only the physical manuscripts in its collections, not the literary rights or copyright associated with the papers. In order to protect these rights, the use of manuscripts in the library is carefully regulated. The term manuscript is taken here to mean any written material in its pre-publication form, including works, letters, documents, proofs, inscriptions, or other typed or holograph material, whether published or unpublished.
Photocopies, microfilms, and photographic copies of selected manuscripts and photographs can be prepared upon request. Permission must be obtained from the library in writing before such materials can be quoted in publications or reproduced for commercial use. Requests for copying extensive amounts of manuscript material will not be approved. For more details visit our Imaging Services and Permissions page.