Register to Use Materials in the Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room for Rare Books & Manuscripts

Researchers whose work requires use of the Library's collections of Manuscripts and Archives or Rare Books, including the George Arents Collection, must register for access. Registration may be completed either in advance, using this form, or in person.

You may also use this form to ask a reference question about the Library's collections of Manuscripts and Archives or Rare Books collections.

Registering in Advance:

Readers, especially those living outside the New York City metropolitan area, are encouraged to register in advance using this 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 Reading Room'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.

Please note:

  • Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
  • Please answer the following questions as completely as possible; the information you provide will assist us in quickly processing your registration or answering your question.
  • Even if you do not intend to visit the library, you are welcome to use this form to ask a reference question about the Library's collections of Manuscripts & Archives or Rare Books.


Permanent Home Address (PO box or work address not accepted)
(please include department)
(e.g. graduate student, assistant professor)
(this may be a collaborator, advisor, instructor, another person for whom you are conducting this research)
Please be as specific as possible (author, title or collection name, call number if applicable) to help us to identify your requests.
(if applicable)
Rules for using Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Archives collections:
  1. Divisional staff will determine which materials can be made available for use and when surrogates must be used in lieu of originals.
  2. Pencils, laptops without cases, and handheld cameras or phones are permitted for use in the Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room.
  3. All other materials are to be left at the coat check on the ground floor, adjacent to the Library's 42nd Street entrance. This includes outerwear, scarves, bags, purses, pens, binders, folders, notebooks, loose papers, food, and drink..
  4. Personal items are subject to examination upon entering and leaving the Reading Room.
  5. Disable all sounds on phones, computers, handheld cameras, and other devices.
  6. Researchers must hold a New York Public Library card, obtainable from staff in the General Research Division, and must also present a valid government-issued photo ID to complete reader registration.
  7. Safe handling of collection material is important. Library collections should be left in the state that they were found. Please listen carefully to instructions for handling materials.
  8. Personal photography of collection materials is permitted for research purposes, but may be subject to restrictions pending review. Please direct questions about duplication to staff on duty. Photographing the Reading Room, researchers, or Library employees is not permitted. It is not permissible to record audio or video in any case.
  9. Researchers are reminded that it is their obligation to comply with copyright law when publishing or otherwise using materials from the Library's collections. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable, living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications.