Using Rare Books and Special Collections

Falk Library Historical Collections are housed in the Rare Book Rooms on the first floor of Falk Library. To make an appointment to view materials, please use the contact form or call 412-648-4162 at least 24 hours in advance. You may also contact the Main Desk at 412-648-8866.

NOTE: Some rare books and other materials from the collections may be used only in the Rare Book Rooms. Some materials require special permission for use. The library reserves the right to refuse access to rare materials for any reason.

Policies For Using Materials in the Rare Book Rooms

  • Materials in the Rare Book Rooms may not be checked out from the library and must be used in the Rooms only. A library staff member must be present whenever materials are being examined.
  • Users should schedule an appointment to use rare books and other materials in the Rare Book Rooms at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Users may be limited in the number of books requested at one time.
  • Users must complete a registration form to use rare books and special collections and must present photo identification (e.g., driver's license).
  • No drinks or food are allowed in the Rare Book Rooms.
  • Users' briefcases, bags, coats, etc. may not be kept at the table where special collections materials are being used.
  • Users may use only pencils; no pens are allowed. Users may use a computer provided that the case is kept in a separate location from the table.
  • Gloves are not required to examine rare books or other materials; however, users should wash their hands before examining these materials. Cotton gloves are available for use with the books at the user's request.
  • Flash photography is not permitted but users are allowed to take their own digital pictures for study purposes with a small hand-held camera, iPhone or iPad. Images for publication (web or print) must by done by the Library.
  • Scanning and photocopying are available on a case-by-case basis and have to be requested via HSLS Document Delivery service. Outside users should request copies/scans via their home institution interlibrary loan services. Fees vary depending on the material, and copies generally will be available within 24 hours.