Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section

Document Handling Guidelines

The documents held in the Manuscripts Section are unique. Each one is an irreplaceable historical source. Some are very fragile. Staff and searchers need to handle them carefully in order to preserve them for future users. Please read the following handling guidelines before you start:

         Please use pencils only in the reading room. Do not sharpen pencils over the documents.

         Handle documents carefully, making sure you have clean hands. Touch the pages as little as possible, away from the text. Please do not lick your fingers when turning pages.

         Do not lean or rest anything on any document. Please do not write your notes on top of a document.

         If you want to make a tracing, please use a sheet of clear polyester (available from the Enquiry Desk) to sit between the document and your paper.

         Use a book rest when you are consulting a volume, to give it extra support. Open volumes with care, to avoid straining the binding. Please turn pages carefully.

         When consulting loose items, ensure they remain in the order issued to you, as they have usually been arranged in that order deliberately. Do not unclip any items. If items are gathered in such a way that you cannot read them, please take them to the Enquiry Desk.

         Take extra care when unrolling plans, rolls or large documents. Special weights are available at the Enquiry Desk if you need them.

         Please tell a member of staff if you find any documents that are damaged, if any pages are loose, or if anything concerns you about the documentís condition. We will alert our conservation team, and include the item in our conservation programme.

         Staff will be happy to help repackage items when you have finished.

Please ask at the Enquiry Desk if you are unsure of the best way to handle the manuscripts you have ordered.

Staff will be pleased to help and offer advice. Staff will also be pleased to explain the copying facilities available.                             

Last updated November 2007

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Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section