How To Prepare for Visiting the Archives or a Special Collection Library

November 7, 2020

Written by: Kith and Kinsmen

If you are planning to visit the archives or a special collection library, there are some steps you can take to be more prepared:

1. If possible, register online. This will save you time rather than having to fill out paperwork when you get there.

2. Check the available research hours.

3. If you know what you are looking for, order online prior to your visit. The library staff will have your documents/film ready for you! Also ask if any of these documents are available online.

4. There are rules!

– You cannot take in pens or folders with you.

– You cannot bring your purse with you. You will need to place it in a supplied locker.

– You are allowed to use pencils and you can bring paper with you (just no folders).

– You can bring your phone, but remember to turn the volume off.

– You can bring your iPad or other tablets.

– You may be allowed to use a hand-held scanner.

5. Call before you go to make sure your registration was complete and that there are not any problems with the documents you ordered.

6. Ask what you are allowed to bring into the library.

– Can I take photos? Is flash photography allowed?

– Am I allowed to use a hand-held scanner?

– Will I be required to wear cloth gloves?

– Is there anything else I need to know before visiting?

7. If you need to schedule more than one visit, ask how long they will hold your material. If you have been researching documents, you know how the hours can fly by!

8. Ask questions or if you need help getting started. They library staff are always available so you can have a successful visit. At the archives, there is usually a desk you can visit for help finding documents online. The library staff will also be available to print documents for you at a nominal cost.

And finally, always remember to carefully cite your sources so you or others can locate the files again!

Happy researching!

Kith and Kinsmen is all in the family. Terry and Tara are a mother/daughter duo who have a joint interest in family history. Terry and Tara are well versed in genealogical research. Together, they complement each other and create a great genealogy research team. They have worked together to research their own family and are now interested in helping others in their journey.