The Samuel P. Hayes Research Library and Archives staff enjoy sharing our resources and unique collections. This page shares important information about arranging a visit.
All visits are by appointment only. Besides the unique materials in our collection, we’re an unusual library in other ways. We’re located in the middle of a building also used for high school classes. We’ve also got a much smaller staff than many academic libraries or historical societies.
Our policies are designed to keep our students safe, help you make the most of your visit, and protect and preserve our unique materials. They mean we can balance your visit with the questions and needs of other library users.
Please arrange your visit at least five working days in advance. If you would like to visit the Research Library and Archives, please complete the Research Application form described below as soon as possible, but at least five working days before you would like to visit.
Visitors to our building must be escorted at all times, so we need to make sure a staff member will be available throughout your time here. Advance planning also means we can have the best materials for your project waiting when you arrive. (Our collections are in several different physical locations.)
Hours: We normally schedule visits between 9am and 3:45pm, Monday to Friday. We are closed on weekends and Perkins holidays, but can often adjust our weekday hours with advance notice.
Process: Once we receive your completed form, we will confirm a date and time for your visit and send you some additional information about visiting our campus. Additional information about the form is in the next section.
In the Boston area unexpectedly? We can sometimes accommodate visits with less notice, but may have limited times you can visit or some resources may not be available.
The Research Application form
Our research application asks for information about you, your background, and your current research. We help researchers from a wide range of backgrounds, and we're often aware of related material that may not be obvious from the catalog or finding aids. Our form asks for details so that we can connect you with the most useful materials for your project.
Access options: This form also helps us identify times when a visit to our library may not be necessary. This is usually because the materials you’re interested in are already digitized, or we can make scans or digital copies of other items easily. In this case, we’ll direct you to those resources and arrange for scans.
List of materials: You do not need to identify all the specific materials you would like to work with while you’re here in the initial form, but we do ask for an overview of what kinds of materials you’d like to consult.
We encourage you to search the library catalog, review Archives finding aids (which include links to digital collections) and consult with the Research Librarian to identify materials in our collection before you submit the form.
The final section of this page has additional information about some specific types of materials.
If you would like to view items in the Museum, please arrange for a free tour. Tours can focus on your area of interest, and the museum has many items you can touch and handle.
When you are ready, complete the research application form.
Scheduling: Once we receive your completed application, we will schedule your visit and confirm the time and date. We will also send you additional information about visiting our campus (parking, location, available food near campus, etc.)
A few days before your visit, we will confirm your arrival time, and you can let us know if there are any additional items you’d like.
Once you arrive on campus, check in with the reception desk in the Howe Building. They will call down to the library, and a staff member will come to meet you. We’ll go over information about the work space, the day’s schedule, and other important details with you, and ask you to sign a sheet agreeing with our policies.
If anything changes in your plans, please let us know as soon as possible. We’ve set aside time and arranged our day for your visit, so knowing something has changed means we can answer other questions more efficiently.
Specific item information:
Some kinds of material may not be available for visitors, or only after additional discussion and application.
Digitized materials: For preservation reasons, we do not generally provide access to physical materials that have been digitized. We’re glad to check on specific issues such as a page being folded over or illegible during scanning.
We recognize that sometimes the physical item is relevant, especially for tactile materials. If this is the case for your specific project, please describe your goals clearly in your application form Also let us know whether you would like to handle a specific item, or whether other similar items would also work for you.
Restricted access materials: Some materials are restricted access: these include student files and other items that include identifying information about private individuals. Access to these materials requires our approval of a specific project proposal, additional documentation, and a signed agreement.
Restricted access material cannot be photographed, scanned, or otherwise digitized.