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Access to the Collection


For admission to the Berg Collection please contact staff using this form.

Describe your research topic, summarize your research to date, cite the items you wish to study, and explain why they are necessary for your project. Please allow up to two business days for a reply. The Berg Collection Reading Room is open to researchers Tuesday–Wednesday (11:00–6:45 p.m.) and Thursday–Saturday (10:00–5:45 p.m.). Material is not paged after 5:00 p.m. 

Please check your coat/outerwear (you may wear a sweater to the reading room) and all bags in the cloakroom on the Ground Floor. If you do not wish to leave your purse or wallet in the cloakroom, these items can be locked in a cabinet in the Reading Room. You may bring your pencils and laptop into the Reading Room. Only pencils are allowed for writing, electrical outlets are available.  

Proceed to the Deborah, Jonathan F. P., Samuel Priest, and Adam R. Rose Main Reading Room (third floor, entrance through room 315) to apply for a Library card. Present your completed form and a picture ID containing a traceable number. (Faculty members and graduate students should also bring their university ID, and proof of address. Undergraduates must, in addition, bring a letter from their professor explaining why they need to use Berg materials.) Your Library card will be ready within minutes to present at the main reference desk in Room 315, where you will explain why your project requires you to use the Collection. If the staff member approves your request, you will receive a Special Collections Reader's Card for a defined period. This period may be extended, if necessary. 

Requests for material from the following archives should be emailed to at least three business days before the date of your arrival: Jane Cooper, Bruce J. Friedman, Philip Levine, Annie Proulx and May Sarton. No more than 10 boxes may be requested initially. On subsequent days, no more than 10 boxes from these archives will be retrived once a day, if staffing permits. (Retrieval may be delayed until the following day.) 

Permission To Publish

Permission to publish quotes from copyrighted material will not be granted until the Curator of the Berg Collection has received a signed permission statement from the copyright holder or estate executor by post, fax, or email. If emailed, it must be sent or forwarded from the copyright holder's or estate executor's email address, not copy and pasted.

If you have made a good-faith effort to locate the copyright holder or estate executor and failed, please inform the Curator in your letter, fax, or email, and ask for a Hold Harmless form. The form states that you have made a good faith effort to locate the author's copyright holder or estate executor and that you hold the Library harmless for any copyright infringement caused by the publication of your work.

Requests for permission to publish must include the Berg's catalog or finding aid descriptions of citations to the material from which the researcher wishes to quote, either in whole or in part. Citations to correspondence must include the names of the sender and recipient and the date of the letter. Citations to manuscript works (e.g., fair copy or draft of novel, short story, poem or collection of poems, notebook, etc.) must include the author's name, the title as given in the catalog or finding aid description, and the date that the work was completed, or the date ascribed to it by the catalog or finding aid. In your list of the repositories you have consulted, refer to: "The Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations." Other references may refer to the "Berg Collection."

After the Curator has received the copyright holder's or estate executor's signed permission statement, and after your citations have been checked, the Curator will approve your request and forward it to the Office of Special Collections, which will send you the Library's official letter of permission.

Quotations from manuscript material no longer under copyright will not be permitted unless a list of citations has first been sent to the Curator. The Curator will forward your request, with his approval, to the Office of Special Collections, which will send you the Library's official letter of permission.

The publication of copyrighted photographs of texts or graphic images requires the same procedures as the publication of quotations. You must also contact the Ask NYPL Express and follow the instructions on their permissions form. Their site also contains a list of fees.

Reprographic Orders

Requests to photocopy, photograph, or microfilm copyrighted material will not be carried out until the Curator has received a signed permission statement from the copyright holder or estate executor by post, fax, or email. If emailed, it must be sent or forwarded from the copyright holder's or estate executor's email address, not copy and pasted.

Photocopies should be received within seven business days. Bound material may not be photocopied. Unbound printed and manuscripts may be photocopied if permission is granted by the Curator.

Fees: $10.00 for first 10 pages, including postage, and 50 cents for each subsequent page.

Finding Aids: $10.00, plus postage.

Domestic postage: $3.00 for 11–50 pages.

Foreign postage: $5.00 for 11–50 pages.

No more than 50 pages and no more than 20% of a manuscript (novel, short-story, journal, diary, notebook, etc.) may be photocopied, though one-page poems and pieces of correspondence may be photocopied in their entirety. Each photocopied page will bear a stamp: "BERG COLL. Photostat made from material in the possession of the New York Public Library. Not to be reproduced without permission. To be returned to the New York Public Library [i.e., to the Berg Collection]." In requesting a photocopy, you obligate yourself to abide by these terms.

Photographs: All photograph orders must be initiated with the Library's Ask NYPL Express

Digital Photographs and Scanners: If permitted by the Curator, researchers may use a digital camera, without a tripod. If the material is copyrighted, the same procedures must be followed as in the case of photocopies. The researcher must also sign a form stating that the digital image will be used only for research purposes—not for publication—and that it will be deleted, and any hard copies that have been made from it destroyed, upon the project's completion.

The use of hand-held and flat-bed scanners is prohibited.