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Policies: Guidelines for Using Archival Materials

Reading Room

Reading Room Policies

The Reading Room of the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections is reserved for use by only those patrons using materials from the archival collections.  

-All coats, schoolbags, briefcases, parcels, etc. must be put in a locker.

-No eating or drinking (including water, candy, or gum) is permitting in the reading room.

-ONLY PENCILS may be used for note taking.

- All materials must be handled with care. Do not: mark material or erase existing marks; use pens, markers or high-lighters on or near our materials; fold, tear or cut documents; make tracings or rubbings; rest books or other objects on the surface of items; or touch the surface of loose sheets or book pages if they can be handled by their edges. All materials must be returned to the reading room attendant when the reader leaves the reading room.

-Patrons must wear gloves when requested.

-We reserve the right to deny photocopying, scanning, and digital photography of materials. Researchers must receive permission to photocopy, scan, or photograph archival material from a member of the archival staff.  

-No unauthorized cell phone photography is permitted.

-Patron use of personal equipment such as laptops, scanners, and tape recorders is at the discretion of the archivist.

-Researchers have access to one box of material at a time. When folders are removed from a box, placeholders must used to maintain existing order.

-All archival material (collections, books, artifacts, ephemera, documents, photographs, audio-visual materials, and microforms) must be viewed in the Reading Room.  Patrons cannot borrow material.  Exception: Patrons with disabilities can request to view materials in the Adaptive Equipment Viewing Room (Room 134).

-Permission to publish or copy any archival material must be requested in writing.

-The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with laws of libel, copyright, and literary property rights when quoting or publishing material.



Reproducing Items/Permission to Publish


Archives: Use and Reproduction Policy

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections offers duplication and reproduction of its research materials under certain conditions.

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections controls all duplication services and reproduction requests. All requests, either for material where Brooklyn College holds copyright or where Brooklyn College is not the copyright holder, are subject to review.


Reproduction Costs

Photocopies: 10 cents per page

Digital Scans: $10 dollars per scan

DVD Duplications: $10 per DVD

Publication Fees:  Please contact the Archivist to discuss fees.


Copyright Compliance

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code, 1976) and the International Berne Convention, which govern the making of copies of copyrighted material and which prohibit the copying of material that is under copyright protection without specific written authorization from the copyright holder.

The Brooklyn College Archives & Special Collections offers duplication and reproduction of its research materials under certain conditions.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Duplication and Reproduction Policy

Researchers wishing to have material in the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections duplicated or reproduced through photocopying or scanning must consult with the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections Librarian regarding permission and fees and fill out and sign a request & agreement form.

The Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. 

Conditions for Reproduction

Material may be reproduced when, in the judgment of the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections Librarian such reproduction supports the research, teaching, and learning mission of the City University of New York and

Will Not Damage the Original Item

Will Not Duplicate an Inordinate Portion of the Material

Is Not Prevented by U.S. Copyright Law

Does Not Infringe on Special Restrictions Imposed by the Donor of the Material.

When Brooklyn College Holds Copyright

Where the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections holds copyright, it reserves the right to exercise judgment concerning the appropriateness of commercial reproduction and conformance with the values of the University and those of the original creator.

Permission to publish may be offered only to the extent of Brooklyn College ownership of the rights related to the request or when documented special arrangements between Brooklyn College and the copyright holders have been made and when a request complies with donor agreements and any known copyright restrictions.

Any permission granted will be for one-time, non-exclusive use of the material.

When Brooklyn College Does Not Hold Copyright

For materials where Brooklyn College holds property rights but not copyright, proof in writing of permission from the copyright holder (owner of the intellectual property as defined by US copyright law) must be presented before reproduction/duplication requests are approved, regardless of use. In cases where specific item identification is needed, we will provide a photocopy of an item or items to be given to the copyright holder to aid in the permission process. 

Special Collections is unable to conduct copyright searches and cannot counsel users in the application of copyright law.

No reproductions of any kind (scanning or photocopying) will be done until the patron requesting use provides written documentation from the copyright holder. Additionally, the patron also must document all due diligence involved with an orphaned work.

All patrons must complete and sign the Brooklyn College Library’s Conditions for Use of Reproductions Form. For copies of this and other forms related to conducting research in the Brooklyn College Archives and Special Collections please email Professor Colleen Bradley-Sanders or call 718-951-5346.

Collection Development

Exhibit Policy


Exhibits are an integral part of the public services outreach for the Archives and Special Collections unit of the Brooklyn College Library and are curated by Archives staff. They inform and educate viewers while also:

  • Promoting the diverse holdings and scholarly value of specific archival or library collections 
  • Promoting the role of the archives and its collections as part of the research and teaching programs of the college 
  • Educating the college community on particular topics

Student groups are welcome to exhibit in SUBO. Please contact the Student Activities Office (x5712) for information on exhibiting in SUBO.

NOTE: In rare cases, depending on the existing exhibition schedule, the Archives may agree to host an exhibit curated by a member of the Brooklyn College community.  All inquiries about potential exhibits should be directed to the College Archivist at: or 718-951-5581.

Gift/Donation Policy

Donations of archival materials or books are considered in light of the guidelines established by the Collection Development policy (see above). Not all donations are accepted.  Please contact the Archivist to discuss a potential gift.

Anyone wishing to support a specific collection or the general work of the Archives with a monetary gift should first contact the Archivist, Professor Colleen Bradely-Sanders:

Statement Regarding Harmful or Offensive Materials in Historical Collections

Brooklyn College’s Archives & Special Collections contain records that are historical in nature and products of the time and society in which they were created. Some materials within our collections, including the language used to describe them, may contain language or images that users find inappropriate, offensive, or harmful. Brooklyn College does not endorse the views expressed in these materials, which are inconsistent with our commitment to creating an inclusive, open, accessible, and anti-racist learning community. Historical items have been retained as they originally existed to preserve the integrity of the historical record and to foster accountability for the actions and decisions of the records creator.  

Statement regarding harmful or offensive language in oral history interviews

Brooklyn College’s Archives & Special Collections presents oral history interviews as part of the historical record. They are the personal recollections and opinions of the individuals involved and, therefore, may contain language, ideas or stereotypes that are offensive or harmful to others.

Individual oral histories cannot serve as the sole source of historical information about an institution or event. These narratives should not be interpreted as the official history of Brooklyn College, nor do they represent the views of the institution, past or present.

Contact us

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding materials you’ve found in our online collections. Offensive description brought to our attention will be addressed and revised as soon as possible.


(Statement modeled after the policy of the Oregon Health & Science University.)