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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

Using Our Collections

Guidelines for Using the UMD Archives & Special Collections

Use of materials is freely granted to all researchers, subject to the following procedures to ensure that these fragile materials are protected from deterioration, damage, or loss. While some archival materials may not look fragile or even very old, most are unique and irreplaceable. We want to make sure that they are available for use far into the future. You can help by following these guidelines.

  • Coats, backpacks, laptop sleeves, purses, briefcases, and other bags must be left in a designated place in the archives before using archives and special collections materials.
  • Items you can have with you while using archives and special collections materials include:
    • notebooks
    • pencils
    • laptops
    • cell phones (silenced)
    • cameras (no flash)
  • Use pencils to write with. Do not use pens. Pencils and pencil sharpeners are provided.
  • You will need to wear Nitrile gloves when handling photographs and other photographic materials such as slides and negatives. Gloves are provided.
  • Leave any food or drinks you have with you in the designated place where the archives staff directs you to leave them. This is to protect the archival materials from having liquid or food spilled on them, to keep your hands clean for handling archival materials, and to avoid attracting mice or insects. You can take a break just outside the archives to drink beverages and you can leave the Library Annex and go into any other part of the library to eat.
  • Please keep conversations quiet and brief and take phone calls outside of the archives and Library Annex.
  • You should only have one container of archival material on your table at a time and complete work with that container before using another container.
  • Use one folder at a time and return it to the container before taking out another one.
  • Handle materials carefully, taking care not to lean upon, mark, bend, or tear them.
  • Preserve the existing arrangement of materials by turning sheets in order and keeping them neatly in their folders. Please report to the staff any errors in cataloging, dating, or filing. Do not attempt to correct errors yourself.
  • Keep folders and the materials in them flat on the table and don't hold them up while examining them. Keep bound volumes such as ledgers and scrapbooks flat on the table.
  • The Archives and Special Collections reserves the right to limit or prohibit access to any materials (commonly due to legal limitations or potential damage to the item).When you visit the Archives and Special Collections at the Kathryn A. Martin Library, you will be required to follow guidelines necessary to keep our collections safe and preserve our materials for future research. 

Contact Us:


Phone: (218) 726-8526

Location: Kathryn A. Martin Library
Library Annex 202 (see map)