Library & Archives

Reading Room Rules

The vast majority of the materials in our archival collections are unique and irreplaceable. The Library and Archives needs your help in caring for these materials in order to protect and preserve them for future generations of researchers. In order to accomplish this, we ask that you follow these simple rules for working in the Reading Room with our archival materials.

In order to access materials in our collections, researchers will need:

  • A valid Researcher Card (for more information, see the Researcher Registration Form below)
  • To complete the Visitor Orientation (see below)
  • To follow all Reading Room procedures

The following items can be brought into the Reading Room by researchers. All other items must be stored in a locker outside of the room.


  • Sweaters, sweatshirts (indoor wear)
  • Religious head coverings, small silk or other indoor scarves
  • Pocket-size wallets


  • Laptops

Notes and Related Materials

  • Research notes on loose leaf paper, or on paper or note cards supplied by staff
  • Research-related publications from our library collection
  • Pencils and mechanical pencils

The following items may not be brought into the Archives Reading Room by researchers. All of these items must be stored in a locker. At the discretion of Library and Archives staff regarding the safety of our materials, you may be asked to store additional items in your locker. Please plan accordingly.

  • Food
  • Drink (including water)
  • Gum


  • Coats, jackets, sweaters with full-length zippers
  • Hats, caps, scarves (outerwear)
  • Purses, handbags, fanny packs, briefcases, suitcases, equipment bags, backpacks
  • Boxes, containers of any kind


  • Scanners
  • Cameras
  • Camcorders
  • Tripods

See the Camera Use FAQ for additional information.

Notes and Related Materials

  • Envelopes
  • Notebooks, notepads
  • Binders, folders
  • Pens, markers
  • Post-It notes (unless stapled to your note pages)

We thank you for your cooperation and understanding, and we look forward to your visit!

Reading Room Procedures

  • Finding aids to archival collections are available in the online catalog. There are eight (8) networked computer terminals and three (3) listening/viewing stations for patron use, as well as Wi-fi access in the Reading Room.
  • If you didn't request your materials in advance, you must fill out the provided Call-Slips* for each collection from which you request materials.
  • You are responsible for safeguarding the condition of the materials that are brought to you. You may only handle materials with clean, dry hands. Hand sanitizer is available. You must wear white gloves to protect photographic materials. Gloves are provided.
  • You may retrieve only one (1) box or publication from the staff member on duty at the Reading Room desk at any time. Using the space available on the Reading Room table, you may remove, and open, only one (1) folder from a box at a time. Do not block the staff member's view of your work from the Reading Room desk with a box. Replace the folder with an orange OUT card. The folders in the box and the materials in the folder must be kept in the same order they were given to you.
  • You may not mark, fold, or alter archival materials in any way. If folders in a box or pages in a folder appear to be out of order, missing, or damaged, alert staff. Materials should be laid flat on the table at all times. Do not use archival materials as support for taking notes.
  • You may take notes but are not permitted to copy materials. Patrons may use one of the Library's hand-held devices to photograph collections. Additional information is located in the Camera Use FAQ and Camera Use Agreement (below). There is a fee for camera use.
  • If photocopies or scans completed by the Library staff are preferred, Copy Slips are provided to flag items you wish reproduced. Staff can provide copies of a reasonable number of items, depending on the restrictions of the material and its condition. There is a fee for copies. See the Copy Request Form (below) for additional information regarding restrictions due to copyright, donor agreements, and condition of originals in regards to reproductions produced by Rock Hall staff. Each Copy Slip must be listed on the Copy Request Form. It is preferable for copies to be paid for at the time the order is made. Cash, check, or credit card is an acceptable form of payment. 
  • See the Application for Permission to Publish (below) for information on using archival materials in publications (this includes web publications).
  • You may not remove archival materials from the Archives Reading Room under any circumstances.
  • You may not disturb other patrons in the Library and Archives.
  • Materials cannot be paged from 12-1:00 p.m., and last call is at 3:00 p.m.
  • All archival materials must be returned to Archives Reading Room staff when you are finished using them, but no later than 4:30 p.m. A staff member will need to assess that nothing is missing or damaged before you leave.

*Forms are also available in the Reading Room.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum | Library and Archives
2809 Woodland Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44115 | 216.515.1956 |