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South Carolina Historical Society: Policies & Procedures

General Policies

Reading Room Policies
SIGNING IN: All visitors to the library are required to sign the register at the door.

COMPUTERS: After signing in, patrons have access to two computer terminals available for searching our online catalog.  These terminals are for catalog use only. Wireless internet access is available in the reading room. The librarian on duty will be happy to assist.

LOCKERS: Like most manuscripts archives, we require that patrons store all bags, purses, cameras, and like materials in a locker before proceeding to the reading room. This measure is designed to ensure the security of our collection and of your belongings. Patrons are asked to bring only a pencil (no pens) and writing materials into the reading room. Laptop computers and hand-held devices are also permitted.

FOOD and DRINK: Food and beverages are not permitted in the reading room. Patrons may leave such items in their lockers. There are numerous restaurants in our neighborhood, and the library staff can offer dining suggestions.

READING ROOM: Once patrons have signed in and placed their non-essential items in a locker, they may choose their research space in the reading room. The books in this area are open for browsing. Patrons viewing manuscript items will be asked to leave all records cartons on a cart adjacent to the main desk and to take only one folder at a time to their seat. This measure is designed to ensure that the proper arrangement of the materials is maintained.

CALL SLIPS: The manuscripts, pamphlets, and rare books in our collection are located in closed stacks and are not open for browsing. Patrons must fill out a call slip (available next to computer terminals or electronically here) for each item they wish to view and present it to the librarian on duty in order to access these materials.

PHOTOCOPIES: There is a self-serve copy machine in the reading room. Patrons may make copies from books, but we require that you ask for assistance before attempting to copy manuscript items. If you are pressed for time, the library staff is happy to lend a hand. For larger requests, we may ask you to complete a photocopy request form located here.)

PHOTOGRAPHY: Personal cameras (including digital) may be used in the SCHS Reading Room under certain circumstances, depending on the physical condition of materials. Photographs taken in the reading room may not be published, posted on the internet, donated/sold to another repository, or exhibited in any way.  Please ask a librarian for the SCHS Photography Agreement form that outlines the guidelines. This form must be completed and returned to an SCHS staff member.

CELLULAR PHONES: We ask patrons with cellular phones to please silence these devices during their visit. All necessary calls should be conducted outside the reading room at an appropriate speech volume.

RESEARCH HELP: A librarian is always available to assist you with your research. If you require special assistance in conducting your research or have in-depth questions, we encourage you to make an appointment to speak with a member of the staff.

SCHS Website and Contacts

SCHS Website

SCHS Archives:
3rd Floor, Addlestone Library
205 Calhoun Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29424

SCHS Headquarters:
The Fireproof Building, 100 Meeting Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401

phone: (843) 723-3225 fax: (843) 723-8584

Archival Procedures

Basic Archival Care:

       Materials printed on paper, such as books, documents, and photographs, are subject to deterioration over time. The chief factor in the degradation is the acid in poor quality paper, but poor environmental conditions and careless handling are also important contributors. Proper handling and storage can help stop deterioration and extend the life of paper materials. We ask for your cooperation in caring for our documents and photographs.

Please follow these rules for handling and storing paper items:

  • No food or beverages should be in the processing area. Smoking and gum are not permitted.
  • Hands should be clean for handling of materials. Please avoid applying creams or lotions to your hands immediately before handling materials as the oils can transfer and cause considerable damage.
  • Do not lean on books or documents.
  • Never write or trace on books or documents.
  • Do not use paper clips, rubber bands, post-it notes, pencils or any three dimensional objects for place markers. Use acid-free place markers.
  • No marks are to be added to or erased from any material.
  • If the item you are processing seems too fragile to handle, please ask a staff member to assist you.