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Burns Library Services

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Reading Room Policies

Reference & Instruction Services at Burns Library

Creating your Account

  • All researchers are required to create Burns Library Accounts before using collections in the reading room.
  • Researchers will be photographed on their first visit to the reading room. The photographs will be stored in the Burns Library Account system and used by Boston College in connection with identifying researchers authorized to access collections and other security purposes. To verify identify and match to the photo on file, researchers will present government or school-issued photo IDs at the beginning of every visit.
  • Children younger than high school age must be accompanied by a parent.

Accessing our Collections

  • Researchers may use Burns Library materials only in the reading room.
  • Researchers are advised that the reading room is under continuous video surveillance.
  • Researchers are encouraged to use their Burns Library Accounts to submit requests and to use our contact form to discuss their research plans with Library staff prior to their arrival.
  • Some collections are housed off-site and require advance notice to retrieve.
  • In order to safeguard original audio and video materials, staff will attempt to create access copies, free of charge, for listening and viewing on special equipment in the reading room. Researchers should consult with staff for details, including time required to provide such reproductions.
  • Access to some materials may be restricted due to donor agreements, privacy policies, and other considerations.

Using the Reading Room

  • Researchers must follow all general handling guidelines and specific instructions communicated by staff to help safeguard collection materials.
  • Researchers may bring only silenced cell phones, digital cameras, wallets, and laptops or tablets without cases into the reading room. Power cords for electronic equipment are permitted, and staff can provide extension cords if needed.
  • Laptop use is encouraged; staff will also supply pencils and loose-leaf paper for notetaking.
  • Staff will inspect researchers’ collection materials and personal belongings upon entering and exiting the reading room.
  • Researchers are permitted to use 1 archival box or up to 3 books at a time.
  • No materials will be retrieved within 30 minutes of closing.
  • Staff will gather collection materials 10 minutes before closing.