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Conducting Research - Rare Book Division


Researchers whose work requires use of Rare Book Division materials must register for access using our online form. Registration may be completed either in advance or in person.

Registering in Advance:

Readers—especially those living outside the New York City metropolitan area—are encouraged to register in advance, using our online form, so that the details of their visit may be confirmed by a Library staff member.

Registering in Person:

Readers may consult with a Library staff member and register in person during the Rare Book Division's public hours, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Materials are paged for delivery daily. Requests made after 2:00 p.m. may not be available until the following morning.

If you have any questions, please write to us at


Reading Room Rules & Regulations

1. Readers requesting access to Rare Book Division & George Arents Collection materials must register using our online form. Registration may be completed either in advance or in person. 

2. Researchers must hold an NYPL Library Card, which can be obtained in the Library’s Main Reading Room, and must be able to present a valid government-issued photo ID to division staff.

3. All call slips must be legibly printed by hand upon arrival. Readers must indicate their full name as well as home street address on each call slip; P.O. box numbers or work addresses will not be accepted in lieu of a home street address.

4. Only pencils (ink may not be used for note taking) and laptop computers (without cases) may be brought into the reading room. Paper will be provided by the division for note taking, upon request. All other personal belongings, including coats, jackets, hats, purses, and bags, must be checked in the Library’s coatroom. Please plan your visit accordingly.

Readers may be asked to check in the Library’s coatroom any items deemed inappropriate by the Curator of the Rare Book Division or ranking assistant.

5. Books or other reading materials may not be brought into the reading room, except with the prior consent of the Curator or ranking assistant of the Rare Book Division.

6. Photography in the Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room is permitted, with the assistance of New York Public Library staff. Please consult with a Rare Book Division staff member if interested in obtaining photographic reproductions of items from the collection.

7. Listen carefully to staff instructions for the handling of Rare Book materials. In all cases, Rare Book Division staff will determine the manner in which materials are set up for viewing. Do not lean on or place anything on top of Library materials. Tracing or rubbing of materials is not permitted. Materials may not be transferred to another reader.

8. All items are subject to examination by Library staff upon entering and leaving the Reading Room.

Finding Materials

In undertaking your research in the Rare Book Division, it is recommended that you begin your search in the online catalog of The New York Public Library. Other valuable New York Public Library catalogs, available in print format onsite, may be utilized as a complement to the online catalog.

Readers are encouraged to contact us ( whenever they have questions concerning our collections or holdings.