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Burns Library Services


Access for Research

Reference & Instruction Services at Burns Library

Access to Burns Library

We welcome all who are interested in using Burns Library Collections.

Appointments are encouraged, but not required, for Boston College students, faculty, and staff. BC dropins (i.e. appointment not made) will be accommodated if space is available.

We require appointments, made at least one business day in advance, for all guest researchers (anyone who is not a current Boston College student, faculty, or staff) in order to better facilitate research needs and ensure all materials are available. We will confirm your appointment via email. 

If the materials you are interested in using are stored offsite (anything with the message "Advance notice needed; Contact Burns Library" in the library catalog), we require at least 3 business days notice before your appointment/visit.


Reading Room Hours

The reading room is available for research on the following days/times:

  • Monday - Tuesday: 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday - Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Appointments are required for all guest researchers, and encouraged for BC students, faculty and staff. 

The reading room may need to close occasionally in order to accommodate Boston College classes or events. Please check our hours for updated information before planning a visit.

The day of your visit

Please wash your hands thoroughly after arriving.

Researchers may bring only silenced cell phones, digital cameras, wallets, pencils, and laptops or tablets without cases into the reading room. Power cords and headphones for electronic equipment are also permitted. Everything else should be placed in a locker in the coatroom. 

During your visit

Common Areas: 

Burns Library gendered restrooms are on Level 1 (down two flights of stairs); please speak to staff if you need an accessible restroom. Unisex, accessible restrooms are available on Levels 2, 3, and 4 in Bapst Library. 

Reading Room: 

If this is your first visit to Burns Library, staff will need to take a photograph of you to complete your Burns Library Account.

All researchers will be asked to show a photo ID.

If you have used hand sanitizer, please thoroughly wash/rinse your hands so damaging residue is not  transferred to the materials. Researchers will not wear gloves in the Reading Room unless working with photographs, metal, plaster, or vellum.

While in the reading room, you will have access to 1 box or up to 3 volumes on your table at one time.  Let staff know when you are finished, and they will remove the box/book(s) and set up any additional material you have requested. 

No materials will be retrieved within 30 minutes of closing.

Staff will gather collection materials 10 minutes before closing.