Using the Special Collections

Using the Special Collections

Using the Special Collections


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

Seating is limited. To ensure that there is a seat for you, please email us for an appointment.

Reading Room Procedures

Welcome to the Special Collections of the John M. Kelly Library. By definition, the items in the Special Collections are unique and irreplaceable. The Library has established these procedures to ensure that items in its collections are preserved for future scholars.

  • You may bring a pencil, paper, and a tablet/laptop into the Special Collections Reading Room. All other personal items (including coats and bags) must be left in a locker.  Lockers for day use can be signed out at the Circulation Desk on the ground floor.
  • Researchers must fill out a Researcher Registration form and show a piece of photographic identification to the Special Collections staff member.
  • Request for Materials form is to be filled out for each item you wish to consult and presented to the Special Collections staff member. The material will be brought directly to you in the Special Collections Reading Room.
  • Only three book volumes or boxes of archival material will be provided at any one time.
  • Items may only be used in the Special Collections Reading Room and may not leave this area.
  • Items must not be left unattended. If you need to leave the Special Collections Reading Room and are not finished with the items, please return them to the Special Collections staff member.
  • When you have finished consulting the materials and at the end of the day, return all items to the Special Collections staff member.
  • Access to some materials may be restricted. The Special Collections staff member will inform the patron of any conditions that may restrict access to materials being requested.
  • Patrons are not permitted to copy items in Special Collections themselves; the Special Collections staff member will copy requested items, provided they are in suitable condition. For more information on duplicating materials, see Reproduction Policies, Services, and Fees.
  • Digital cameras and camera phones (without flash) can be used with permission. Consult with a Special Collections staff member who will provide you with a Personal/Research Use Agreement form.

Rules for Handling Materials

  • No eating or drinking (including water, candy, and chewing gum) is permitted in the Special Collections Reading Room.
  • Ensure your hands are clean; thoroughly wash and dry your hands before using materials; refrain from applying hand lotion or cream before handling materials.
  • Remove any dangling jewelry, identification cards, or loose clothing, which may come in contact with the materials.
  • Only pencils may be used. If you do not have a pencil, the Special Collections staff member can supply you with one.
  • Never mark pages or write on paper laid on top of a book, manuscript, or archival records. Tracings are not permitted.
  • Turn pages slowly, carefully and deliberately; the turning of pages should not be audible.
  • Take extra care when handling oversize or brittle materials, and in opening folded plates and maps.
  • Use the strips provided on the tables to bookmark an item. Do not use “post-it” or other self-sticking notes or paper clips.
  • Gloves (white cotton or nitrile) will be provided for patrons using photographs, film, drawings, and other sensitive material.


  • Do not force books open so that they lie flat. Use the provided book foams, wedges, and weights. Staff will demonstrate the proper use of these aids.
  • Never lay an open book face down on the table, lean on a book, or place other books or objects on it.

Archival material

  • 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.
  • Keep archival records flat on the table surface as much as possible. Do not allow records to overhang past the table’s edge.
  • Maintain the exact order of documents in a folder and folders in a box. If you think that there is an error in arrangement, please advise the Special Collections staff member. Do not rearrange archival records yourself.

Service Limits on Research Questions

Special Collections 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.

Citation Guidelines

Extracts from archival documents should be cited as follows:

University of St Michael’s College, John M. Kelly Library, Special 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

Publishing Archival Material

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 full 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.


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:

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 information about reproduction services and fees below.


Items in the Special 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, Special Collections has adopted the following policies and procedures.

Policies and Procedures

  • Materials will be reproduced only by Special Collections staff when it is possible to do so without damaging the physical integrity of the item.
  • The library reserves the right to use its discretion to limit the number of reproductions or to decline to make any reproductions.
  • Reproductions are subject to applicable copyright, legal, conservation and/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 copy material is not an authorization to reproduce or publish the material.
  • Researchers may be permitted to use a digital camera to photograph Special Collections material in the Reading Room (see Personal/Research Use Agreement Form for more information).

Reproducing Material

A Special Collections staff member will provide you with a specific Request for Reproduction Form. Copying must be done by Special Collections staff.

Limits on Reproducing Material

Special Collections staff will schedule the work in consultation with the patron, making every reasonable effort to meet her/his needs in such a way that they do not interfere with ongoing staff duties. Please be aware that reproduction requests are handled at specific times and require advanced planning in order not to interfere with ongoing reading room activities and research.

Flagging Material for Copying

Placing flags around the material to be copied is the best way to let the Special 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 using the acid-free flags provided.

Please place your reproduction orders with Special Collections staff at least 15 minutes before closing to allow time for arranging payment and discussing the order before the Reading Room closes.

Services and Fees

As a general policy all research copies are made in digital format. If you would prefer paper copies of these digital files, please indicate your preference on the reproduction order form. 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.

Digital Copies
Digital Scans
Service Charge
Scan of letter, legal, photograph or ledger size materials (unimproved basic scan, under 300 dpi, delivered by e-mail or file transfer service) 1-10 scans: $10.00
11+ scans: $1.00 per page
Includes electronic transfer by e-mail or file transfer service (up to 2GB)
Custom Scans
Service Charge
Custom (high-res scan, 600 dpi, hi-res photo, slide or negative scans for publication, etc.) and oversize material (larger than 11” x 17”) $25.00 per scan
Includes electronic transfer by e-mail or file transfer service (up to 2GB)
Audio-visual material copies
Service Charge
Copy of video and audio recordings $40.00 per recording**
($20 if original has already been digitized)

**Flat rate for recordings under 2 hours on most conventional analog formats. Longer recordings or unusual formats will be charged as custom orders.

Delivery Charges
Delivery Method Charge
E-mail (File must be less than 20 MB) No charge
File transfer service up to 2GB No charge
Paper copies Additional fee of $0.50 per page
Storage medium (CD) An additional fee of $5.00 is charged per CD or DVD

(or as arranged with patron).

  • A minimum postage and handling fee of $10.00 applies to all requests mailed to patrons.
  • Fees do not include applicable taxes.
  • Fees are subject to change without notice.
  • Cheques are to be made payable to the University of St. Michael’s College.

Notes on Publication and Permissions

  • Researchers who plan eventual publication of their work are urged to make an inquiry concerning overall restrictions on publication 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 applicant’s research and writing have reached the stage where it is possible to identify the precise texts to be published.
  • While Special Collections may grant users permission to publish or reproduce some of the materials in its care, this does not discharge users from the responsibility of acquiring permission from copyright owners. Owners may require payment of additional fees if Special Collections does not own copyright or if the material is not in the public domain. Applicants accept all liability for questions of copyright and privacy that may arise in copying and in the use made of the photographic and digital copies.
  • If permission to publish is granted, we request that you cite the source and provide a credit line for Special Collections material used in any publication, exhibition, web site production or video production as follows:
    • Special Collections, John M. Kelly Library, University of St. Michael’s College
  • We request that one copy of any publication that relies heavily on Special Collections material be donated to the John M. Kelly Library as soon as the work is published.
  • In cases where the requested material from Special Collections is in the public domain, the Library does not charge a rights or use fee and permission to publish is not required.