Guidelines for Researchers

When visiting the Latin American Library in person, please observe the following general guidelines listed below to help preserve these unique collections, including rare books, pamphlets, manuscripts, newspapers, ephemera, photographs and sheet maps. Your kind cooperation will help to ensure that these materials remain available and in good condition for future generations of researchers.

Getting Started

  • Provide photo identification
  • Complete a request slip (available in the Latin American Library). We will bring your items to you and give you a brief demonstration on how properly to handle the materials.
  • Review the Procedures for Consulting Rare Materials in the Reading Room (available in English and Spanish).
  • You may use our holdings only in the Reading Room. Materials may not be checked out or removed from the room.
  • Limited camera use is permitted in the Reading Room. Please review our Camera Use Policy and Permission Form (also available in Spanish) or ask the LAL staff about the use of cameras when you visit.

Limit Your Requests

Researchers are allowed to use three folders of manuscripts, one box of photographs, or three rare books at any one time. Please allow the staff of the Latin American Library an unobstructed view of your work area.

Pencils Only

You may take to your desk only pencils, blank sheets of paper (provided by the library),  and a laptop computer. Ink pens are not allowed as they can leave indelible stains on the documents.

Keep Documents Flat on the Table

When reading documents, please leave them flat on the table in their file folders in the order you found them. Do not hold documents while reading them, and do not remove them from their file folders or change the order of documents within file folders. Please be careful not to lean on, write on, or place any objects on top of the documents.

Respect the Collections

The Latin American Library's web site provides search options and guides to our Manuscript Collections and to collections in the Image Archive. Items in the Rare Printed Materials Collection are cataloged and searchable via the Library Catalog and our LAL Special Collections database. A shelf-list for Rare Printed Materials, organized by date of publication, is also available in the Latin American Library. Upon identifying an item for use, please contact us to find out details about consulting the original document. Please visit our Research and Services page for duplication requests.