Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Banner Image
ESR & Bethany Resources
Science & Technology Commons
Friends Collection & College Archives
Facilities & Services
Library Home

Friends Collection and College Archives: Reading Room Policies

For detailed information about archival & genealogy collection availability check the archives home page.

Reading Room Policies

Our Policies and Procedures are standard practice throughout the Special Collections and Archival communities. Because Earlham is a place of higher learning, we want our students to learn what would be expected of them in a standard Archive or Rare Book Room. Therefore we have adopted these policies not only because they are standard practice, but also to help our students form good habits for future research.

Types of collections:

In our main reading room we have open stacks. This is the Friends Collection. The Friends Collection contains a mostly comprehensive collection of books, periodicals, and other media by or about the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Some of the materials in the Friends Collection circulate (you can check them out) and some do not (they must stay in the reading room). We would be happy to help you determine which items you can and cannot check out.

Off of our main reading room is our Genealogy Room. This room houses one of the best Quaker genealogy collections in the world.  It contains family histories, birth, death, and cemetery records, Quaker monthly meeting minutes, and local histories. Patrons may enter and browse for research materials in this room, but items cannot be checked out.

 We also have rare books and archival materials owned by Earlham and Bethany Theological Seminary.These items are unique and do not circulate. If you would like to view these materials, we would be happy to retrieve them for you.

Policies and Procedures:

Some of our policies may contrast with the policies of Lilly Library as a whole. Our hours are different, and we do not allow food or drink in the archives.

Our hours are more limited as we have only one professional archivist available for reference and research help during the day. Student workers help keep our archives open and are available for limited research help. We wish we could be open more extensively, but with a professional staff of one, it simply is not possible. If you have a class project that might require using primary sources or you are working on a deadline, we recommend planning in advance so we can accommodate your requests.

Archives materials are valuable and often unique items, which is why we need to keep the Archive locked and secure after hours. Our rare book and manuscript collections must be used within our reading room so they do not accidentally get lost. Many of our older items are brittle and must be handled carefully. If something happens to our rare books or manuscripts, they cannot be replaced. Consistent with Earlham's Principles and Practices, we put a high level of trust into our student workers and the Earlham community by not requiring researchers to show identification. However, we do require a registration form that we use to keep records.

Specific Policies and Rules:

1. No food or drink permitted in the Reading Room.

2. All backpacks, laptop cases, jackets, water bottles, etc. must stay by the front entrance.

3. Please register at the reference desk to use archival materials.

4. Only pencil may be used while working with the materials (Friends and Archival). No pens, markers, or crayons. Pencils are available at the reference desk and at the research tables if needed.

5. You may use as many books from our Friends and Genealogy collections as you can reasonably use at one time; however, please return them to the reference desk when you are finished. We will put them back on the shelves for you.

6. The exact order of archival materials must be preserved. Only one folder at a time should be removed from a manuscript box. Maintain the order of materials within folders and within the box. We have rulers you can use to mark your place in a box. Please see a member of our staff if you would like to use one.

7. All items should be handled with care. Staff will be happy to assist in the proper handling of materials.

8. You must consult archives' staff before photocopying, photographing, or scanning materials. Permission will be based on the condition of the item and other factors specific to the materials in question.

9. Handle materials with clean, dry hands.

10. Patrons must not attempt to cut uncut pages in books. See the archivist for help.

11. Do not mark pages or write on paper laid on top of a book or archival document.

12. Please put your cell phone on vibrate while in the reading room and go outside to answer calls.


We thank you for your interest in our collection and hope your visit is a pleasant one.

Email our Archives staff!

Do you have a question for our Archives staff?


Email Us

Research and Reproduction Fees

Please see the "Research and Digitization" tab for more information on research and digitization services and fees.

Notice on Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

For more information, see

For more information on Earlham's Copyright Policies, see Copyright @ Earlham: Policy and FAQs.

Earlham College • 801 National Road West • Richmond, Indiana 47374-4095