Reading Room Policies

Our collections are free and open to the public, but all users must register prior to entering the reading rooms. Your agreement to abide by the following policies helps us to insure the long-term security and survival of the unique and valuable materials entrusted to our care by the citizens of North Carolina.

Secure Reading Rooms

  • Researchers may not under any circumstances remove non-circulating collection materials from the reading rooms. Library staff will examine laptops, notes, and other items when researchers exit the reading room.
  • Researchers must handle all library collections gently and carefully and keep loose documents in the order they are found. Researchers must abide by the specific guidelines, provided by library staff, on proper handling and safe positioning of loose documents and volumes.
  • No pens, bags, notebooks, or food and beverages (including water bottles) are permitted in the reading rooms. Researchers wishing to bring loose notes into the reading rooms should consult with desk staff. No more than 10 loose pages will be permitted.
  • Pencils, laptop computers, mobile devices on silent settings, and digital cameras with the flash turned off are allowed in the reading rooms. Lockers are provided for researchers’ other personal belongings, including cases for laptops and digital cameras. Complimentary pencils and note paper are available in both reading rooms.
  • Last call for special collections material is one-half hour before closing (4:30 PM, Sundays-Fridays; 12:30 PM, Saturdays).
  • Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a registered adult.
  • Closed-circuit cameras are in operation throughout the building at all times.

Checking Out & Making Copies

  • A small number of materials in the North Carolina Collection circulate and can be checked out or requested via Interlibrary Lending (ILL). Additionally, all microfilm in the Southern Historical Collection and University Archives may be requested via ILL.
  • Researchers on site are encouraged to use digital cameras (including smart phones) without flash to duplicate materials in the reading rooms. Researchers may use their own camera or borrow one from the reference desk. Researchers may not use portable scanners in the reading rooms. Some materials in the North Carolina Collection may be scanned using the second floor reading room’s KIC scanner. Please note that some restricted materials may not be photographed or reproduced in any way.
  • Researchers using microfilm materials have the option of making digital or paper copies. Digital copying from microfilm is free, and paper copies cost $0.25 per page. Staff members at the reference desks are happy to assist with both digital and paper copying.

Special Circumstances

  • Wilson Library holds a significant number of audio and video recordings. For preservation purposes, listening or viewing copies rather than original recordings are made available to researchers. Please email us at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu before you visit to inquire whether specific listening or viewing copies are available.
  • Please note that items on exhibit, undergoing conservation treatment, or with exceptional security restrictions may not be available for research. We encourage researchers interested in specific items to send an email to wilsonlibrary@unc.edu before visiting. This is especially true of the weekends, when Wilson Library operates with limited staff.
  • We encourage researchers needing consultation with a subject specialist to request an appointment by emailing wilsonlibrary@unc.edu. This is especially true of the weekends, when Wilson Library operates with limited staff.