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Rare and Manuscript Collections

By Appointment - Full Hours /

Registration & Guidelines

Registration Procedures

The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections is open to the public—to students, faculty, visiting researchers and members of the community. First-time researchers should go to register & request items to set up a research account online. For a quick-start guide to registering and requesting please see our online guide.

Once the research account is set up, you may request materials online from any computer, whether in the reference room or offsite. Requested materials that are available will be paged by collections staff and brought to researchers in the reading room.

A few items in our collections require an appointment to see and many of our items are stored off-site and require at least two business days to retrieve. Therefore, we encourage you to register and request items at least two weeks before your visit so we can help you to optimize your research time at Cornell. If you have questions prior to your visit, please contact us.

On your first visit, researchers should proceed to the reference desk on level 2B of the Carl A. Kroch Library to confirm their registration, present photo identification, and to be photographed for our records. Your registration will be valid for a year; after that, you will be prompted to renew it the next time you use the collections.

Step-by-step Instructions for Requesting Items

  • Go to register & request items to set up a research account online.
  • Proceed directly to the Cornell Library catalog.
  • Search for and select the book, manuscript or collection in question.
  • Click on the link(s) to “request delivery to the RMC reading room” and select which boxes/volumes you would like to see. Items are grouped by location (off-site and on-site); if you can’t find the box/volume you need and there are multiple “request delivery” links, check the other link.
  • Select the date you intend to arrive (click on the white box above “select date”).
  • Click “Continue to Log In Screen”
  • Click the appropriate button to log in to Aeon. If you see your request listed under “Outstanding Requests,” you have successfully submitted your request.

PLEASE NOTE: your request will NOT register unless you hit the “log-in to Aeon” button at the end. Once you do so, your request will be submitted. You’ll know you’ve done it correctly when you see a page listing your requested items.

Guidelines for Use of Materials

Materials held by the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections are non-circulating. In order to protect and preserve the rare and fragile books and documents under our care, we ask researchers to abide by the following guidelines:

  • Materials from the collections are to be used only in the Reading Room.
  • No materials from the collections will be issued to anyone who cannot present valid photo identification and who does not set up a research account.
  • Pencils only may be used in the Reading Room; pens may not be used.
  • Laptop computers may be used in the Reading Room; electrical outlets are available.
  • No tobacco, food or beverages are allowed in the Reading Room or elsewhere in the Library.
  • Bookbags, backpacks, purses, briefcases, coats, newspapers, umbrellas, etc. are not allowed in the Reading Room; coat rack and lockers are provided.
  • All books, manuscripts, and other materials from the collections must be handled with special care. Printed books and bound manuscripts must be used on book supports, and gloves will sometimes be required with fragile or otherwise delicate materials.
  • Manuscript items are issued one box, or in some cases, one folder at a time.
  • All materials must be returned to the supervision desk when a researcher leaves the Reading Room.
  • Researchers wishing to use the same materials again within one week may ask to have them placed on hold.
  • Users of the collections are expected to abide by all stated copyright regulations.
  • Scanners are not allowed in the reading room.
  • Patrons may bring digital cameras into the reading room and take images for research purposes, excluding any materials that may be restricted by donors or other rights holders.
  • Cornell Library also offers reproduction services for a fee. Materials may be copied at the discretion of the curators, when safe for the materials and legal. See Reproductions and Permissions for more information, including price lists and request forms.