Frequently Asked Questions
- Who uses The Sherman Fairchild Reading Room?
- Do I need an appointment to use the Reading Room?
- When is the Reading Room open?
- What is required to do research in the Reading Room?
- Do I have to submit an application if I have previously used the Reading Room?
- How do I find which collection items I want to see?
- Is photography permitted in the Reading Room?
- Does The Morgan participate in Inter Library Loan programs?
- Does The Morgan provide appraisals of rare items?
- Does The Morgan provide general reference services?
- What are the guidelines for using the Reading Room?
The Reading Room serves researchers who demonstrate a need to consult the Morgan's rare materials, which have as their focus the history, art, and literature of the Western world. The Morgan makes collection items as accessible as possible, though within the limits set by their rarity and fragility. There is also a large reference collection, including facsimiles, microfilms, and bibliographic works that are not readily available elsewhere. Neither rare nor reference material held by the Morgan circulates. Researchers are welcome to apply to study items from the Morgan's collection.
Yes. The Reading Room is open by appointment to researchers whose applications for admission and requests to consult specific material have been approved as described in sections four and five below.
We accommodate as many readers as possible each day but space is limited. We recommend that readers request appointments two to three weeks in advance of their preferred dates. Please note each reader is required to fill out a separate application.
Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays, Sundays, and on the following dates:
Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day)
Monday, June 24
Thursday, July 4 (Independence Day)
Monday, July 29
Monday, August 26
Monday, September 2 (Labor Day)
Monday, September 30
Monday, October 14 (Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day)
Monday, October 28
Monday, November 11 (Veterans' Day)
Monday, November 25
Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving)
Friday, November 29 (Day after Thanksgiving)
Tuesday, December 24–Tuesday, December 31
Wednesday, January 1 (New Year's Day)
Monday, January 20 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
Monday, January 27
Monday, February 17 (Presidents' Day)
Monday, February 24
Monday, March 30
Monday, April 27
Monday, May 18
Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day)
Monday, June 29
Complete and submit the online application. Please provide a detailed description of your research. Most collection items are fragile, valuable, and irreplaceable. Readers should be prepared to explain why their project requires physical examination of the material they wish to consult.
In the final section of the application, list the items you are requesting, taking the information from our online catalog, CORSAIR; see section 6 below. Access to rare material is not granted without curatorial approval. If the condition of an item requires it, readers will be asked to use secondary materials, such as facsimiles or microfilms, before or in lieu of examining the original.
If you have sent an application within the previous twelve months you do not, unless your personal information or your project has changed. An appointment, however, is always required.
Please use the Morgan's online catalog, CORSAIR. The final section of the application provides space to put the required information for each item. Please include the starred fields from the CORSAIR record. Cut and paste them into the spaces provided. You will have the opportunity to request additional items once you have submitted your application.
Digital photography for study purposes only may be permitted. Please indicate in your application that you would like to take photographs and review the Reading Room's digital photography policy.
The Morgan Library & Museum does not participate in Interlibrary Loan programs. If the ILL request is for unique material, please ask your patron to contact the department in which the material is held. The name of the relevant curatorial department is readily available in CORSAIR records, in the field labelled: Dept./Collection. See the contact page for e-mail addresses.
The Morgan Library & Museum is generally unable to provide photocopies or scans of non-unique items. Information on obtaining photography may be found here.
The Morgan Library & Museum cannot provide appraisals of rare items. You may wish to consult:
- Your Old Books, Association of Research Libraries, American Library Association.
"This guide covers some frequently asked questions about rare books and book values."
- The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America publishes an annual membership directory. It includes subject and geographical indices to help you contact the booksellers who might be of assistance.
As an independent library for researchers and scholars the Morgan cannot provide general reference service. For general reference questions you may wish to consult your local public library or these Internet resources:
The following items may not be brought into the Reading Room:
Bags, backpacks, purses
Cases for computers and cameras
Cell phones unless muted or turned off
No guests, food, drinks, or gum are permitted in the Reading Room.
Lockers in the Reading Room foyer can accommodate personal items not allowed in the Reading Room proper.
Readers must wash their hands before entering the Reading Room; there is a sink in the foyer for this purpose.
Readers may not touch written, decorated, or painted surfaces of rare items. Taking traces or rubbings is not allowed.
Readers should refrain from wearing fingernail polish (even gel or shellac), since it might leave marks on the rare materials that you are handling.
Reading Room staff delivers all requested items to readers at their tables and collect them when readers are finished.
Guidelines for handling specific types of material will be distributed in the Reading Room.
For further information, please contact:
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016-3405
Phone: (212) 590-0315
Fax: (315) 533-4778
The Morgan Library & Museum and its programs are accessible to people using wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are available for use during your visit.