Georgetown University Special Collections Use Policy

Before requesting material, please read the following policy. This policy pertains to the use of materials in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections, the Woodstock Theological Library, and the Bioethics Research Library (subsequently referred to as Special Collections).

Should you have any questions, feel free to ask our staff members.


  • Please help guarantee the security of our material by placing all personal property (including bags, computer cases, notebooks, and coats) in the lockers outside the Betz Reading Room designated for the use of our researchers. Only pencils, loose paper, smartphones in silent mode, and portable computers may be brought into the Betz Reading Room.

  • Georgetown University Library is not responsible for damage or theft of items stored in the lockers.

  • No food (including chewing gum) or beverages are permitted in the Betz Reading Room.

  • Staff reserve the right to inspect all personal items (books, notebooks, notes, computer cases, etc.) on the arrival and/or departure of any researcher when use of material is requested.

  • No material will be pulled for researchers after 4:30 p.m.

  • Please be aware that researchers will be under camera surveillance while using materials in the Betz Reading Room.

  • Please turn all devices to silent mode; phone calls are not permitted in the Betz Reading Room.

Using Special Collections Material

  • Requests for access to material for any purpose involving pending litigation must be made through the office of University Counsel. Failure to disclose this intent may constitute a serious breach of legal ethics.

  • NO INK pens are allowed when examining research material. Pencils are available in the Betz Reading Room.

  • Please wash and completely dry your hands before handling materials.

  • Please do not hesitate to ask the staff member in the Betz Reading Room for assistance with handling or finding materials; we are eager to help!

  • Staff will assist in the setup and use of foam book supports for bound volumes.

  • When using materials housed in folders, please remove one folder from the box at a time and use a marker (provided) to note where to replace it. Please place folders flat on the table. Preserve the existing order of the material in each folder while conducting research, and do not remove materials from the folder. Report any suspected disarrangement to staff.

  • Please do not mark materials in any way either directly or by writing notes on top of them, or by resting books or other objects on the surface of the material. Staff will assist you with proper handling.

  • When returning material, please ensure that all folders are in proper numerical or alphabetical sequence in the box and replace box covers securely. Please ask for assistance when returning rare books and periodicals.

  • Notify staff when leaving the Betz Reading Room to take a break or when leaving for the day.

  • Staff must be alerted to boxes containing requests for reproductions. Individual folders containing reproduction requests must be replaced in the appropriate location in its original box. Photocopying and scanning causes permanent, cumulative damage. Reproduction requests will be granted in accordance with the Reproductions and Permissions Policy. Please confer with staff for the correct procedures for requesting reproductions..

  • You are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials you may wish to use, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for your intended use, if needed.

  • While staff make every effort to remove confidential and other restricted information (including but not limited to personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, and information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) before serving manuscripts and University Archives collections, researchers agree to alert staff if they encounter such material in the course of their research. Researchers also agree not to record, reproduce, or disclose restricted information that may be included in requested materials. Violation of this agreement may result in the loss of research or access privileges to the Georgetown University Library.

  • Responsibility for Special Collections material is assumed by the researcher until all items have been returned to and accounted for by staff.

Researchers must agree to abide by the policies and regulations of the Georgetown University Library.

Access Policy for Manuscripts Collections

Access Policy for the Georgetown University Archives

Access Policy for the Maryland Province Archives