Reading Room

Practical Matters regarding the Reading Room

As of May 15, 2023 Special Collections units at Yale University are open to Yale-affiliated faculty, students, and staff and to non-Yale researchers who comply with the Yale Covid Visitor’s Policy.

The Lewis Walpole Library does not require a reservation, but we appreciate being informed in advance of any planned research visit since space in the Reading Room is limited.  

Plan your visit

The Reading Room is climate-controlled. Some readers find the temperature chilly, so it is advisable to bring a sweater or shawl, especially in summer. Please note that any sweater or shawl should either be worn while in the Reading Room or hung in one of the lockers down the hall while not in use.

Requesting material

Paging is available on the following schedule: 9, 10, and 11 am, 12 noon, 2, 3, and 4 pm

Requests for books, bound manuscripts, and graphic materials may be made through Yale’s Library catalog Orbis (or Quicksearch), or through the Archives at Yale. Requests for other material not in Orbis can be made directly through Aeon. To place such a request, login to your Aeon account, click on “Can’t find it?” link on the left side menu, then, under Lewis Walpole Library, click on either manuscript or book and fill out the form. Please ask for assistance if you need help. 

Request Limit

There is a limit of ten requests per person. We may override the request limit on an individual case basis. Please contact us if you have a need to have the limit overridden. It is extremely important that you still adhere to the item limits for requests at any other special collections repository elsewhere at Yale (e.g. Beinecke, Manuscripts and Archives, Medical Historical Library). 


Book supports, weights, bookmarks, and magnifying glasses are available on the table. Task lamps, a small camera, and a light sheet are available upon request on a first come first served basis.

See also the Yale Preservation Department’s Handling Special Collections Materials quick reference sheet and Care & Handling of Special Collections Materials

Wireless internet access

This is provided throughout the Lewis Walpole Library and the Timothy Root House. In order to access the secure wireless network at the LWL, including the subscription databases, researchers must provide computer MAC adresses to the monitor who will arrange for their machines to be registered on the network.

Public computer terminal and printer

There is a black and white printer in the Reading Room, but there is no self-service photocopier. Any requests for printing or photocopies must be made with the monitor. Approval and any limits on the amount of printing or photocopying is at the discretion of the monitor. No material published earlier than 1950 or in poor condition will be photocopied.


Please follow the instructions of the Reading Room monitor. In case of fire, exit the Reading Room promptly, go out the Exit door to the right in the hallway and through the exterior door from the stairway. Proceed to the Root House terrace.