New York State Library
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MSC Policies/Access to MSC Collections


Research Room Rules

There are card catalogs and the Library's on-line catalog, Excelsior, with bibliographic records of the Library manuscripts and rare books collections, manuscripts, maps, prints, broadsides and sheet music collections and detailed finding aids to many collections. Recently cataloged parts of the manuscripts, prints and musical scores collections are listed on the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) which may be accessed in research libraries around the U.S. or via the Internet. Federal maps are accessible through the on-line catalog. U.S.posters may be accessed via their Superintendent of Documents (SUDOC) number available on the Government Printing Office CD-ROM or the Monthly Catalog, both available on the State Library's 7th floor.

Because of the great variety of subjects and formats of material in Manuscripts and Special Collections, it is advisable to discuss your research with a librarian to ensure that you have discovered all potentially important material related to your subject.


Material is retrieved starting at at 11 AM and 2 PM Monday through Friday with delivery times usually 30-45 minutes later. Vault items will take even longer to make available (up to several weeks). You should Schedule an Appointment to request that material be placed on reserve for you. Material may be reserved for as long as two weeks. Some collections are stored off-site and may require several business days to retrieve. Arrangements should be made prior to visiting the Library.


The New York State Library does not hold the copyright to the items in its collection. If the work is subject to copyright, the copyright remains with the producer or publisher of the work or others to whom the copyright may have been assigned. The researcher is responsible for obtaining permission from the copyright holder before publishing any of this material.

Some graphic material may have additional restrictions beyond copyright and some manuscripts material may have literary rights which are owned by others than the State Library. All applicable restrictions regarding copyright and literary rights should be respected.

We ask that any material reproduced from our collections include the credit line "Courtesy of the New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections."


The New York State Library can provide digital scans of Manuscripts and Special Collections materials, dependent upon condition of material, copyright or donor restrictions, or other reasons. All copying of material in Manuscripts and Special Collections must be done by staff.

For information on prices for copying services, see Document Delivery Charges.
Last Updated: May 9, 2024