After conducting your preliminary research, and completing your research consultation to make an appointment, you will be ready to view collections at the Schomburg Center. There are a few things you can do to arrive ready to conduct your research and maintain stamina during your visit.
You are only allowed the following items in the reading room:
All other items must be stored in a free locker.
Please view our General Regulations prior to your visit.
Email a librarian with any questions about your visit.
For more information about the artwork at the Schomburg Center, please contact the Art and Artifacts Division.
We are proud to share collection materials with all of our patrons. Below are some guidelines for proper handling of our materials.
Boxes of Archival Material:
When you make an appointment to visit, you agree to:
Researchers may be asked to use some of the following materials during their research visit. These tools are generally available to help protect archival materials. If you have questions about their use or think you may need something, please ask for assistance.
Book Cradles- Foam triangles used to protect the spines of rare books, scrapbooks, and bound material. Two pieces (or more) can be used to keep the spine of a book from cracking open and to protect pages from tearing.
Book Truck/ Book Cart- Wooden book shelf on wheels used for transporting research materials. Each researcher will have their own cart assigned to them.
Cotton Gloves- While it is best to handle materials with clean, dry hands, gloves can be used to protect documents from oil and moisture on the skin. Please take care if asked to use gloves, as they limit the dexterity in our hands, and sometimes cause damage to brittle paper documents.
Mylar Sleeves- Clear plastic sleeve that help to protect documents. These are often used with newspapers and other paper-based items to protect them from crumbling. Please ask for assistance before removing documents from the protective sleeve.
Out Card- Large red and yellow laminated dividers used to keep track of where folders of materials should be returned when they are removed from archival boxes.
Photo Form- Most collection materials can be photographed, provided no flash is used. Please use our photo tracking form to tell us the number of photos that are captured from each folder of an archival collection.
String and Pillow Weights- Cord "shoestring" like weights or cotton pouches filled with small beans can be used to keep documents flat, or book pages open. Weights are often used to aid in taking pictures of an item. These protect books and documents from sustaining tears. Instead of pressing on an open book spine, bending or creasing pages, ask for weights to help gently keep items open or flat for viewing.
If you need assistance with using materials such as access to a CCTV, requesting a reader, or would like help using assistive apps, please contact us in advance of your visit.
If you have difficulty reading handwriting, or small text, or would like materials to be read to you, consider the free app SeeingAI as a possible solution. Don't forget your headphones!