Special Collections and Archives Reading Room Guidelines

The Special Collections and Archives reading room provides a place where students, faculty, staff, and the public can access the department’s holdings, within conditions imposed by donor agreements and institutional policy.

Hours, Location, and Parking:

We are located in Room 409 on the fourth floor of Kennedy Library (Bldg. 35). Here’s a map of the library, and here’s a map of campus.

Read about parking at Cal Poly here. Visitors can park in lots K-1 and H-1 with an all-day parking pass. There is metered parking adjacent to the library in lots H-10 (1.5 hrs max) and H-2a (4 hrs max).

Confirm our hours for the quarter.

WiFi and Camera Policy

Guest WiFi is provided for visitors to campus. Learn how to connect here. Use of digital cameras is permitted on a case-by-case basis for personal research use.

When you arrive

Special Collections and Archives is following Cal Poly masking protocol. Regardless of vaccination status, all researchers must wear masks indoors. Students should be prepared to show their Campus Pass on arrival in the archives reading room.  Visit Cal Poly’s Coronavirus Information page for up-to-date information for students, staff, faculty, and community visitors.

Upon arrival at Special Collections and Archives, all researchers must complete and sign the Researcher registration form. By signing the Researcher Registration form, researchers agree to abide by the rules of use for the collections.

Aside from pencils, cell phones, and laptop computers, all personal belongings must be stored separately in the space provided for such items. The use of pens, highlighters, or indelible pencil is prohibited. Pencils and loose-leaf paper are provided for use in the reading room.

Cell phones must be placed in the silent position in the reading room.

Special Collections and Archives’ collections storage areas are not open for browsing. Staff members will retrieve collections you request for your appointment. Archives collections must remain in the reading room.

Some collections are stored off-site, requiring 3 business days advance notice before the materials can be made available.

Food, drink, water, and tobacco products are not permitted in the reading room.

Exercise care when using material:

  • Working with archives materials is a slow process, materials take time to move through
  • Do not mark, deface, alter, fold anew, or trace on material
  • Do not place material in the lap or prop against the edge of the table
  • Gloves may be required at staff’s discretion.
  • Keep material in original order. If material seems to be out of order, note discrepancy to staff rather than editing independently.

All material must be returned to staff before leaving the Reading Room for an extended period.