Grand Reading Room Policies

Archives and Special Collections in the GRR

These patron rules and registration information are for archival and special collections (non-circulating) materials that are only accessible in the Grand Reading Room (GRR), which is located on the second floor of Smathers Library.

Visitor Information

Researchers are encouraged to email ( or call (352-273-2755) at least 5 business days in advance of their visit to ensure materials are available for use. University Archives collections must be reviewed for portions that may be restricted due to the requirements of applicable state and federal laws; other collections’ materials  may be housed offsite and must be retrieved.

For more information regarding visiting our spaces, please see our Plan Your Visit page.

Guidelines for Using Special Collections

Due to their value, physical condition, and uniqueness, Special Collections materials do not circulate and must be used in the Grand Reading Room (GRR). Special Collections materials require special handling and security precautions to ensure their preservation.

While visiting the GRR:

  • Researchers will be assigned a table at which to work.
  • Ask staff about duplication procedures and permissions. Permission to scan is contingent upon the condition of the paper and any fastening methods. You are encouraged to bring a digital camera to take photographs of most materials. Personal scanners have to be approved by staff.
  • Handle items with care:
    • four books or one box on the table at a time.
    • one folder removed from a box on the table at a time.
    • do not rearrange items in boxes or folders; insert file marker into box when folder is removed.
    • do not remove metal fasteners from materials or cut unopened pages; ask staff for assistance.
    • some items require specialized handling procedures that will be explained by staff.
  • Items requested from our off-site storage facility require 10 business days advance notice.
  • Last retrieval of the day will occur one hour before closing; later requests available by 9am next day.
  • When taking an extended break (more than 1 hour) or leaving for the day, please return all materials to the desk and check out with the desk attendant.

Items allowed / Items restricted:

  • Drinks (including bottled water), food, gum, tobacco and e-cigarettes, etc., are not permitted in the Grand Reading Room or Judaica Suite.
  • Personal items allowed at the table include pencils, paper, laptop computers and tablets, cell phones, and cameras. Notebooks and laptops may be inspected upon exit.
  • Pens, highlighters, sticky notes, and other office supply items are not allowed at the table.
  • Laptop cases, backpacks, bags, pencil cases, camera bags, and purses are to be placed in lockers.
  • Leave coats and outerwear on the coatracks provided.
  • Silence cell phones and other mobile devices; exit the room if you need to place or receive a call.


Public Computers:
There are two computer workstations in the Grand Reading Room for general use. UF users can sign on with their Gatorlink account information. Guest users will need a guest Gatorlink account created at the Reference Desk or at any other library location. Information may be saved onto a flash drive or emailed. Once the patron has exited and logged off, any information is erased. Please note: our public computers no longer have CD/DVD drives.

The public computer has a flatbed scanner and a slide/negative scanner attached. Scanning is free, and scans may be saved onto a flash drive or emailed. We also have a KIC Bookeye scanner, from which images can be saved to a flash drive or emailed. The email size limit is very small, so we recommend bringing a flash drive.

There are two digital microfilm machines, in the GRR and the Staff Room 207. The digital machines are at public computers, so they require the Gatorlink (or guest Gatorlink) signon. Like with the scanners, information may be saved onto a flash drive or emailed.

Audio/Visual Equipment:  
Patrons may request a boom box with a single cassette player, a CD player, and a radio. We can supply headphones or the patron may bring their own. We also have a record player to be used with headphones. We now have an external CD/DVD drive available on one of the public computers. Researchers using DVDs should plan to use their personal laptop or supply their own external drives. Our public computers no longer have DVD drives. We do not have a VCR for public use.

Copyright and attributions

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law and further restrictions placed by donors. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to infringement of copyright.  Researchers are responsible for securing permission to publish from materials under copyright.

Attribution of credit shall be given as follows: [identification of item], [name of collection unit], Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida.

The department requests a copy of all publications for which permission to publish has been granted.

These Guidelines and the accompanying Researcher Registration form are designed to meet ACRL/RBMS Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections, approved by the ACRL Board of Directors 2009, revised January 2019. 

The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries strives to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all students, employees, partners, and visitors. Materials requests, questions, and comments can be directed to