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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Harry Ransom Center Research

Reading Room Policies

Reading Room Guidelines

Our Reading and Viewing Room is maintained as a quiet, safe, and comfortable space for researchers to work with materials in a responsible manner. You will find a detailed list of our Reading and Viewing Room policies, as well as a list of prohibited items, here.

Overview of Reading and Viewing Room Rules

1. The Ransom Center Reading and Viewing Room (RVR) is for use by patrons using collection materials. We may require patrons of high school age to be accompanied by an adult.

2. The Ransom Center does not allow materials to circulate outside the RVR. Patrons are not permitted in stacks areas.

3. Patrons must present a photographic identification card issued by a government agency or educational institution each time they visit the RVR. 

4. The Ransom Center restricts the type of personal belongings that may be brought into the RVR. Personal belongings must be stored outside of the RVR. For more details, see the HRC Materials Use Policy.

5. Storage of handguns is not allowed in Ransom Center lockers or other areas.

6. All handwritten notes must be made in pencil on yellow paper or index cards. Laptop computers removed from their cases are permitted but must be inspected on departure. Patrons may take up to five personal books into the reading room, with an identification slip completed for each one. RVR staff reserves the right to further limit personal belongings on a case-by-case basis.

7. RVR staff reserves the right to limit users who do not have a specific research project to five folders or items, depending on the collection.

8. Each patron is legally responsible for all items requested through their research account; a permanent electronic record of each transaction is maintained in the system. Materials may not be transferred to another reader. A copy of the call slip must remain with the material at all times. Patrons are allowed to keep a limited number of materials on a desk at one time: seven books, one folder of manuscripts, three boxes of photographs, or one box of other visual materials. Upon request, items may be held on reserve for a limited period.

9. Please observe the instructions, set forth in the orientation presentation and available at each desk, about careful handling of materials.

10. Digital reproductions of collections materials may be ordered. Patrons who review the Materials Use Policy and who review and sign the Digital Camera Use Policy are allowed to take their own digital photos, for reference purposes only. Additional information concerning photoduplication is available in policies posted at

11. No materials will be paged during the last half hour of the working day. All items must be turned in to the desk at least fifteen minutes before closing.

12. When exiting the RVR – except for trips to the bathrooms or reception area – patrons must return all materials to the circulation desk and retrieve their clearance slips. Slips must be initialed by the circulation attendant and presented to the receptionist before leaving. All items taken out of the RVR are subject to examination.

13. Some collections in remote storage must be requested at least three days in advance of anticipated use. Please contact the Ransom Center well in advance to request offsite materials.

A detailed list of Reading and Viewing Room Rules can be found here

Digital Camera Use

Researchers who wish to photograph collection materials must read and sign the Digital Camera Use Form, found here.

Digital images are to be used for research purposes only, and the Digital Camera Use Policy does not allow a user to publish material (this includes posting on social media).


When digital camera images are not permitted or sufficient, the Ransom Center will reproduce materials for a fee (see photoduplication fee here).

Find our photoduplication order form here.


In addition to obtaining copyright permissions, users wishing to publish material from the Center must submit a Notification of Intent to Publish.

A list of fees related to publication can be found here: Publication Fees.

Other forms and fees associated with publication, exhibition, and quotation, can be found on our Policies, Forms, and Fees page

Contact Us

For general information or help with reference and research, call (512) 471-9119 or email
A member of our Reference and Research staff will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. 

For other inquiries, you may find our staff directory here.

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