Guidelines for use of Africana Special Collections

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Photo by Andrew Campbell
Page from the Hon. Miss Susan E. Hicks-Beach album in the Winterton Collection of East African photographs.

The Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies maintains and provides access to unique collections of rare books, archives, manuscripts and photographs. We welcome use of these resources by faculty, students and staff of Northwestern University and by visiting researchers regardless of affiliation.

Please note that languages books, vertical file, rare books, posters, archival and manuscript materials and photographs are available for consultation Monday-Friday, 8:30AM - 4:45PM only. Advance appointments, especially for those using these resources for the first time, are strongly encouraged.

Since the holdings are rare and unique, researchers are expected to be very careful to avoid loss or damage to any materials.

Rules and regulations for use of Africana special materials

  • Language books, vertical file, rare books, archival and manuscript materials, photographs, and posters are available for consultation Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:45pm.
  •  All special materials will be delivered to researchers following completion of the "Research Registration Form."
  • Materials are non-circulating.
  • Materials will be delivered, one item at a time, for use at an assigned open carrel or index table.
  • Keep loose materials in order.
  • Handle all materials with care. Gloves must be used at all times with photographs and may be required with manuscripts and rare books.
  • No pens; please use pencils for note-taking.
  • No food or beverages.
  • No self-service photocopying or scanning without permission. 

Please note:

  • Limited digital scans of photographs are made upon request to the University Library's Digital Collections Department. These requests are made through Herskovits Library staff. Copies will be produced in approximately one week after the request is made. Delivery of copies may be via a website or on CD-ROM.
  • Manuscript and archival materials circulate one box or folder at a time. Photograph albums/collections circulate one volume/collection at a time. Multiple printed volumes, depending on size and condition, may be used at the same time.
  • All materials must remain flat on the surface of the study carrel.
  • All written notes are to be taken with pencils. Laptop computers for note taking are permitted. Marking of any sort in materials is prohibited. Acid-free paper strips will be provided to any researcher wishing to mark places in an album, book or folder.
  • Loose photograph collections will be counted in the presence of the requesting researcher prior to and following use.

  • Permission to consult materials does not convey the right to reproduce or publish. Researchers are permitted to quote, cite or refer to materials in accordance with the United States copyright law. However, more extensive quotation, copying for research purposes, or the reproduction and publishing of materials are governed by the copyright law, donor agreements and library policy. For more information, consult the library's Copyright page.