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John M. Kelly Library | Collections

Using the Rare Book, Archival and Manuscript Collections

The Rare Books Collections and the Manuscript Collections have several policies regarding access to, and the use of, their holdings. These policies are designed to allow the fullest possible access to the materials by patrons, while controlling the use of those materials in order to protect their integrity.

Special Collections Forms

Reading Room Procedures

By definition, the items in Rare Books Collection and the Archival and Manuscript Collections are unique and irreplaceable. The Library has established these procedures to ensure that items in its collections are preserved for future scholars.

  • Please leave your coats, briefcase or carrying bag with the Special Collections staff member.
  • Researchers must fill out a Researcher Registration form and deposit with the Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff a piece of identification showing their photograph (e.g. university card, drivers license). A Request for Materials form is to be filled out for each item you wish to consult and presented to the Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff.
  • The material will be brought directly to you in the Rare Books and Manuscript Reading Room. Only three volumes or one box of archival material may be used at any one time.
  • Items may only be used in the Rare Books and ManuscriptReading Room and may not leave this area. Items must not be left unattended. If you need to leave the Reading Room and are not finished with the items, please return them to the Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff member.
  • When you are finished consulting the materials, and at the end of the day, return all items to the Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff member.
  • All items must be returned by 3:45 p.m.

Handling Rare Books

Few people have much experience with handling rare books. But the basics are easy to master and success mostly requires patience and physical care.

Follow these basic points:


There are two things you have to care for, the book's paper and the book's binding.

  • Paper is usually the more durable of the two except for the period of acidic paper which was at its height from about 1850 to 1950 but can affect books from the 1400's until now. If the paper is browning or very thin or shows signs of flaking, handle with extreme care. Otherwise handle with care. Move the individual page or group of pages from the top right or left-hand corner of the text block.
  • Bindings hold the text block together but over time the glue, leather, paper, cloth and string become fragile or wear out. The two weakest points of bindings are the hinges where the boards are attached to the spine and the spine itself. Both are subject to cracking.
  • To preserve a binding the basic technique is to open the book as little as you can and to support the spine and boards so that they will not be required to flex.
  • For larger books we have foam supports that will keep the book stable.
  • Smaller books may be safer if held carefully in your hand, at a 90 degree angle of opening. Close the book if it is not in use.

White Gloves

Some rare book libraries ask their patrons to use white gloves when handling rare books to keep natural skin oils away from the books. Some do not since gloves make the hands clumsy. Here we use the no glove policy with the occasional exception. It is important for your hands to be clean before you handle our materials. Please refrain from applying hand lotion or cream before handling materials.

Do Not.

  • Do not place the book face, (i.e. text side), down.
  • Do not trace or make rubbings from rare materials, mark them in any way or erase any marks. Do not use pens to make your notes, use pencil instead.
  • Do not fold tear or cut documents.
  • Do not use paper clips, fasteners, tape, "post it" notes or rubber bands. Handle materials carefully and with two hands.
  • Always place a book flat on the table or use the foam cradles provided to avoid damaging the binding.
  • Never lay an open book face down on the table, lean on a book, or place other books or objects on it. Turn pages slowly and gently; the turning of pages should not be audible. Take extra care when handling large volumes, materials with brittle paper, and in opening folded plates and maps.
  • Our staff will be glad to help you learn these simple preservation techniques. Please request assistance if you need it.

Handling Archival Material

By definition, archival materials are unique and irreplaceable. Therefore, they must be handled with care.

Always handle archival records with both hands to ensure the safety of the record. Only one archival record should be handled at a time. If records are kept in folders, remove only one folder from one box at a time and do not remove records from the folder. Please leave archival materials flat on the table surface as much as possible.

Avoid letting records overhang past the tables edge.

Handle records carefully and deliberately.

Move the records by sliding them from one pile to another. Replace them in the same way when you are finished, sliding them back into their original order. Researchers must maintain the exact order of documents in a folder and folders within a box. If an error in arrangement is suspected, please advise the Special Collections staff member.

Do not rearrange records yourself. Gloves will be provided for patrons using photographs, drawings, and other sensitive material.

Only pencils may be used in the Special Collections & ArchivesReading Room due to the potentially damaging residue from ink. Please ask for a pencil if you do not have one. Smoking, eating and drinking are not permitted in the Special Collections & ArchivesReading Room.

Access to some records may be restricted. The Special Collections staff member will inform the patron of any conditions that may restrict access to records being requested.

Special Collections & Archives staff are available to assist researchers in locating archival or published material, to advise on research questions and to carry out copying requests.

Requests from researchers of a librarian or archivist to conduct in-depth research fall outside the scope of work we are able to carry out. For example, we are unable to accept requests to search archival fonds or collections for all material related to a person/subject area or date range.

Similarly, we are unable to carry out copying requests that do not indicate specific items/files in an archival collection.

If you are not able to come to the Kelly Library yourself, you may wish to hire an independent consultant to conduct research on your behalf.

Contact Archival and Manuscript Collections

Using Archival and Manuscript Material

All items in the Archival and Manuscript Collections are non-circulating and can only be used in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Tuesday to Thursday
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

An appointment is required.

Using the Archival and Manuscript Collections

In giving permission to copy, quote from, or publish, the Library does not surrender its own right to publish such material or to grant permission to others to do so. The researcher assumes full responsibility for the use of material and for conformity to the laws of defamation, privacy, and copyright, and shall indemnify and hold harmless the University and the Library from claims arising as a result of use of the material so obtained. Literary rights to all unpublished materials remain in the possession of the authors, heirs, or assignees. The user assumes fu ll responsibility for obtaining permission to publish such items in whole or in part.

Restricted Materials

The use of certain documents may be restricted by statute or the donor. The researcher must assume full responsibility for fulfilling the terms connected with the use of the restricted material. For the protection of its holdings, the Library also reserves the right to restrict the use of materials which are not arranged or are in the process of being arranged, materials of exceptional value, and fragile materials.

Extracts from archival documents should be cited as follows:

University of St Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Archival and Manuscript Collections, [collection name, box and folder number].

When microform or photocopied documents are used, the name of the repository holding the original should also be cited.

Acknowledgement to the Kelly Library must accompany the reproduction of any pictorial material on the same page or as closely as to be immediately obvious to the reader, user or viewer. For television, audio-visuals and films, prominent acknowledgement in the credits at the beginning or the end is acceptable


The Canadian Copyright Act

Section 27(1):
"Copyright in a work shall be deemed to be infringed by any person who, without the consent of the owner of the copyright, does anything by this Act, only the owner of the copyright has the right to do."
Section 27(2)
The following acts do not constitute an infringement of copyright:

  1. any fair dealing with any work for the purposes of: private study, research, criticism, review or newspaper summary.

Supplementary information

  • Copyright means the "right to copy". It is the exclusive right of the creator of the work; unless that right is waived.
  • Copyright protection is extended automatically to works upon their creation. The work need not state it is copyrighted to be protected.
  • The following rights are the exclusive rights of the owners' of copyright:

The right to make copies
The right to assign or license the use of a work
Distribution rights
Adaptation rights
Public performance rights
Moral rights

Works protected by copyright

Original works whatever may be the mode or form of their expression including, but not limited to: books, letters (whether business or personal), photographs, portraits, musical works, sound recordings, audio-visual works, computer programs, newspaper, magazine, or journal articles. As a general rule, these works are protected during the lifetime of the author, and for 50 years after the author's death.

Links to Copyright Resources

Copyright issues are often complex. For general information, links to legislation and other useful information:

  • Copyright FAQ for University of Toronto Instructors
  • University of Toronto Governing Council Copyright Policy
  • Canadian Heritage Copyright Policy Branch
  • Canadian Intellectual Property Office
  • Copyright Board of Canada
  • Permission from the Kelly Library must be obtained before any unpublished documents can be published. Patrons wishing to have photographs, maps, or other audio-visual materials reproduced for publication must read and complete the relevant forms. For more information please see Reproduction Services.

    Items in the Rare Books Collections and the Manuscript Collections are non-circulating, and special reproduction measures are required to ensure their long-term preservation. To ensure proper reproduction, care and handling of the materials, the following policies and procedures have been adopted.


    Materials will be reproduced only by Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff, when it is possible to do so without damaging the physical integrity of the item. Reproductions are subject to copyright, legal, conservation or depositor restrictions. Reproduction copies are made for private study and research purposes only and must not be used for any other purpose without the express authorization of the copyright owner.
    Researchers are responsible for observing copyright law and for properly acknowledging extracts from documents. Permission to examine or reproduce material is not an authorization to publish. It is the responsibility of the Researcher to obtain permission to publish. A special fee may be charged for permission to publish facsimile copies. Recognizing that our patrons may require copies of material that may not be photocopied due to conservation concerns, researchers may use a digital camera to photograph Rare Books, Archival and Manuscirpt material in the Reading Room (see digital photograph procedures for more information).

    Note on publication:

    Researchers who plan eventual publication of their work are urged to make inquiry concerning overall restrictions on publications before beginning their research. A written request for the right to publish or for permission to publish facsimile copies must be made on forms provided for that purpose when the applicants research and writing have reached the stage where it is possible to identify the precise texts to be published. If permission to publish is granted, the location of the cited records shall be indicted in the published work. A copy of publications, which rely heavily on the records, should be presented to the Head of the Rare Book Collections or the Head of Archival and Manuscript Collections as soon as the work is published.


    Reproducing Material

    A Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff will provide you with the Request for Reproduction Form. Photocopying must be done by Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff.

    Small amounts of photocopying may be carried out immediately if staff time permits. When large amount of photocopying is requested, Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff will schedule the work in consultation with the patron, making every effort to meet her/his needs in such a way that they do not interfere with ongoing staff duties.

    Flagging Material for Copying

    Placing flags around the material to be copied is the best way to let the Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff know exactly what you wish to have copied while also preserving the original order of the records. It is your responsibility to indicate clearly what is to be copied.

    Identify the material to be copied by placing a flag with start written in pencil on top where you wish the copying to begin, and another flag with stop on it, where you wish the copying to end. Please do not use post-it notes to flag documents.

    Place flags vertically in the book or file folder, so they can be easily seen by the person who will be filling your order.

    Digital Photograph Policies and Procedures

    1. Place a flag in front of the items to be copied (place vertically in book or folder)
    2. Request and fill out the appropriate Photographic Reproduction Agreement form
    3. A member of Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff will review your request.
    4. If your request is approved, pleased adhere to the following guidelines:
    5. The flash option on the camera must be turned off
    6. No additional lighting may be used to illuminate the material(s)
    7. Bound materials (e.g. books, journals etc) should be supported with the foam cradles provided in the Reading Room
    8. Manuscripts, maps and single sheets should be kept flat on the Reading Room tables
    9. A camera stand is available. Please ask a Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff member for more information.

    Your reproduction orders should be placed with the Rare Book and Manuscript Collections staff before 3:30 p.m. to allow time for arranging payment and discussing the order before the Reading Room closes at 3:45 p.m.


    All orders must be PREPAID. You may pay with cash, cheque or credit card. You may ask to have your copies mailed to you (minimum shipping and handling fee of $10.00) or you may pick them up in person. Completed orders which are not mailed will be held in the Reading Room for four weeks after completion of the order and will then be discarded.

    Fee Schedule

    Service Charge
    Photocopies of letter, legal, or ledger size material .50 per page
    Printouts from microfiche .25 per page
    Large-format photocopies $10.00 per order processing fee
    Digital Scans of Textural Material
    Service* Charge
    Scan of letter, legal, or ledger size materials (unimproved basic scan) .50 per page per page; includes electronic transfer if under 20 MB.
    Print Size, black and white* Charge
    5 x 7 $9.00
    8 x 10 $10.00
    11 x 14 $17.50
    Charge for creation of negative, if one does not already exist (the Archives keeps the negative) $12.50

    *The above fees are set by an external service provider and are subject to change without notice. Other print sizes are also available. A $10.00 handling fee per order applies to all orders. Additional fees will be applied for publishing use. For more information, please speak to Special Collections staff.

    Digital Copies
    Service Charge
    Unimproved basic scan (tiff or jpg format, RGB or greyscale at least 300 dpi, delivered by FTP or email attachment) $20.00 for 1 scan
    $40.00 for 2-10 scans
    $60.00 for 11-20 scans
    $120.00 for 21-30 scans
    $4.00 per scan for 30+ scans
    Storage medium (CD or diskette) $3.00 per cd/diskette
    Print on high-quality paper 8 x 11" paper from a digital image of an archival record $20.00
    Copy of an existing digital image on CD or electronic transfer for publication $15.00
    Videotape copies


    Copy of videotaped recordings $50.00 -$75.00 per tape ($20.00 if original has already been digitized)

    *This service involves an external service provider and may require a 2-3 week processing period.

    Audiotape copies
    Service* Charge
    Copy of audiotaped recordings $50.00 - $75.00 per tape ($20.00 if original has already been digitized)

    *This service involves an external service provider and may require a 3-4 week processing period.

    ORDERS ARE PROCESSED WITHIN 3-4 WEEKS (or as arranged with the patron).


    • A postage and handling fee of $10.00 applies to all requests mailed to the patron.
    • Fees do not include applicable taxes.
    • Fees are subject to change without notice.
    • Cheques to be made out to the University of St Michael's College.
    • Publication charges are separate.