Skip to Main Content

SCAD Library Atlanta Special Collections

Collection Handling Procedures

Primary resources housed in Special Collections consist of unique, rare, and fragile materials. In an effort to assist us in preserving these materials for future SCAD students and Faculty, please review the following Special Collections handling and use procedures.


  • Arrive at Special Collections with clean hands, washed with only soap and water. Lotions and hand sanitizers are to be avoided before handling materials as they contain harmful residues. Restrooms are located near the entrance to the library.
  • All Special Collections materials must be used in the Reading Room.
  • No food or drink is permitted in the Reading Room at any time.
  • All personal belongings must be placed along the outside wall of the room. This includes coats, backpacks, binders, portfolios, laptop cases, and closed water bottles. Headphones, hanging IDs, scarves, long necklaces, large bracelets, large rings, or anything that could snag and therefore damage collection materials must be secured.
  • Special Collections materials must lie flat on the tables or be supported by a book cradle (librarian will advise); do not place items in your lap or hold them up. Do not lean on, prop up, or take notes on top of materials. Do not write on, erase, trace, place face down, fold, or handle materials in any way that could potentially cause damage.
  • Pencils and single sheets of paper for notes will be provided. No ink, highlighter, or mechanical pencils are permitted when taking notes for research. Only no. 2 graphite pencils are permitted.
  • Phones are allowed in the reading room to document collection materials for assignments and research. Personal copiers, scanners, tripods, and lights or flash are not allowed.
  • The librarian will limit the amount of materials on research table at one time based on preservation needs and size.


Use of gloves to protect special collections during handling

  • Researchers should wear gloves only when handling photographic, film, and metal materials.

White gloves reduce tactile sensitivity on the fingertips when handling fragile materials carefully. Cotton gloves have many small hairs that can easily catch on brittle edges or worsen an existing tear. Cotton is also very absorbent and thus easily soiled, picking up dirt, dust, and other materials that can then be transferred to the item being handled. Photographs, film, and metals are the exception to this rule. Users should wear gloves when handling photographic materials, since these can be damaged by fingerprints. Objects made from metals that will tarnish such as regalia, silver bindings, and any bindings with metallic boss or embroidery threads should also be handled using gloves. When gloves must be worn for the protection of the user or the collections, lint-free cotton or nitrile (in case of latex allergies) gloves should be worn.