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Guide to the Schomburg Center's Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division: Planning Your Visit

This guide is designed to help new researchers get comfortable conducting research in the Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Research Prep

Here are some things you should know before visiting the Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Division at the Schomburg Center. For additional information, check out the Plan Your Research Visit page.

  1. Always make sure to check the hours and holiday closings prior to your visit.
  2. In order to request items, you need to have a FREE New York Public Library Card
  3. While appointments are not always required, they are suggested. This guarantees you a seat in our reading room and allows us to prepare for your visit by pulling your desired items in advance of your arrival.
  4. Many of our collections are located off-site and require 3 business days to ensure their delivery to the Schomburg Center before your visit.
  5. Like most research libraries and archives, you will be required to check bags, coats, snacks, and all personal items with security.
  6. Researchers are permitted to bring pencils (we provide notepaper), laptops or tablets, cell phones, and cameras into the reading room.
  7. All research appointments are booked for the entire day, though researchers may come and go as they please.
  8. During busy months (such as the summer) appointments are strongly encouraged due to a higher volume of research requests.
  9. If you are unsure of how to get started researching your topic, you can email a librarian for an independent research consultation.
  10. If you have accessibility concerns, please contact us.

Copying and Photographs

Researchers are permitted to take personal photographs of most of the materials in our collections. Restrictions may apply.

Photographs should not be posted to the internet, shared or published without permission.

Our division is happy to create copies or scans of some of our materials for researchers for a small fee. Please view our policy and reproduction request form online.

If you are unable to request copies in person please contact us. If you are seeking permission to publish images, please contact our division and the NYPL Permission Department at 

Additional information on Document Delivery, High Quality Reproductions, and NYPL Fee-Based Services can be discovered through NYPL Research Services.

Email a Librarian

Send us an email with any questions about policy, materials, hours, or research questions.