Special Collections Guidelines

Due to the fragility, rarity, and special nature of the resources found in the Balfour Halévy Special Collections, there are special handling and access requirements to these materials. Please observe the following.

Requesting and Viewing Materials

  1. Requests for materials from the Osgoode Library Special Collections can be submitted either online (using the link from the catalogue record) or in person at the Library’s service desks.
  2. Items from the Osgoode Special Collections may be used only under supervision in the Canada Law Book Rare Book Reading Room. Please contact the library staff  to make arrangements for viewing the requested materials.
    1. A minimum of 24-hours’ notice is required.
  3. No items may be removed from the Rare Book Reading Room under any circumstances.

Using and Handling Materials

  1. Always place a book flat on the table or support it in a book stand, to avoid damage to its binding. Library staff can provide you with a weighted “book snake” to hold your books open. Never lay an open book face-down on the table or place other books or objects on it.
  2. Only acid-free paper strips should be used as bookmarks. These can be provided to you by Library staff.
  3. Pencils only may be used while working with materials from Special Collections. If you don’t have a pencil, Library staff can provide you with one. We ask that you remove any pens from the desk, to avoid the risk of accidentally marking a page by ink transfer.
  4. Never, ever make any mark in a book. Do not write on paper laid on top of a book or manuscript, as this may leave an imprint on the book beneath. The tracing of maps or other illustrative material is not permitted.
  5. Turn pages slowly and gently. The turning of pages should not be audible. Extra care should be taken in handling large volumes and those with brittle paper and in opening folded plates and maps.
  6. If a book is found to have unopened leaves do not attempt to cut them yourself. Bring the book to the attention of the Library staff, who will arrange for a librarian to open them for you.
  7. Limited photo-duplication services are available for materials from the Special Collections, depending on the nature and condition of the material. If you would like copies of any pages from a Special Collections item, please submit a written request to the Library staff, who will arrange for permission and for the copies to be made – usually by the next business day, depending on the number of pages to be copied.