San Francisco Public Library

Guidelines for use of the collection

Due to the rare and fragile nature of many of the materials in our collections, we request that library users observe the following rules.

SIGN- IN: Please sign the visitor’s register as you enter the center.


HANDLING OF MATERIALS: NO MATERIALS MAY BE REMOVED FROM THE CENTER. An exception is made for microforms, which can be taken to the Magazines and Newspapers Center for viewing/printing. All materials must be treated with special care. Many items are of a rare nature and are costly or irreplaceable. Do not turn opened books face down or fold down page corners. Do not mark in books or trace over pictures or diagrams. Use materials flat on the table; please do not lean on them. Please help us preserve our special collections for the future!

REQUESTING MATERIALS: Most of our materials are located in closed areas. Call slips, available at the reference desk, must be filled out when requesting these materials. Three items may be requested at one time. ONE PIECE OF IDENTIFICATION (library card or driver’s license) will be held at the reference desk while requested materials are in use. Note: some materials requested from remote storage can only be made available the next day.

PHOTOCOPIES: All photocopies are made by staff, once a day at 4 p.m. Request forms for copy work are available at the reference desk. Special restrictions may apply to many of our materials, including newspapers, manuscripts, photographs, fragile items, and oversize volumes. Reproduction from any of our materials is at the discretion of the librarian.

PHOTOGRAPHS: The Photograph Collection has restricted hours. Special guidelines for use of the collection are available online and at the reference desk.