Per Duke University policy, the Rubenstein Library is currently only open to Duke users with a Duke Unique ID (DUID) and a Duke ID card. We will post information on our homepage about the timeframe for access for all other researchers as soon as we can confirm the dates. In the meantime, outside researchers can order scans of material in our collections.

Before you arrive

Due to limited hours and seating in the reading room, Duke users are encouraged to submit a request to have material digitized. Duke graduate and undergraduate students can receive up to 250 pages of reference quality scans for free and should receive their orders within two weeks.

If your research need cannot be met through digitization and you need to visit in person:

  1. Contact a Rubenstein Librarian: We’ll schedule a brief Zoom consultation to discuss your research and help make your visit as efficient as possible.
  2. Request an appointment: Following your consultation, submit your appointment request at least 5 full business days before you want to visit. Once your appointment is confirmed, you will receive instructions regarding visiting and using materials safely. If you have not yet had a Zoom consultation with a Rubenstein Librarian, we will contact you to arrange one before approving your appointment.
  3. Register as a researcher: This one-time researcher registration process is easy and includes the creation of an online account. With this account, you'll be able to request material for use in our reading room or to be reproduced, and to track the status of your requests.
  4. Request the material you want to use: Submit your requests at least 5 full business days in advance of your visit. We will retrieve, quarantine, and hold your materials in the Rubenstein Library Reading Room.

When you arrive

  • We will need to see your Duke ID to sign you into the reading room.
  • On your first visit we will need to take photograph of you to include in your researcher account. This is required and allows us to confirm your identity each time you visit our reading room. Your photo will be confidential, and we will not share it.

What can I bring into the reading room?

  • Camera
  • Cellphone (set to silent or vibrate)
  • Laptop (without its sleeve or bag)
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Pencils
  • USB drive

We have lockers and locks that you can use to store your other belongings that cannot come into the reading room with you, such as:

  • Bags, purses, and pouches
  • Notebooks, note pads, binders, and folders
  • Drinks (including water bottles)
  • Food
  • Pens
  • Scanners
  • Lighting equipment

Inside the reading room

  • Face masks must be worn at all times in the reading room. Social distancing floor stickers and signs will be in place to guide your interactions with staff.
  • Ensure your hands are clean before you handle materials.
  • You must use materials in the reading room, as they do not circulate. 
  • You will be given a cart of material, please remove only one box or one volume at a time. 
  • Security cameras monitor the reading room at all times.
  • Staff will ask to inspect anything you brought into the reading room, such as a laptop or notebook, as you leave the room. Please be prepared to hold things for staff, do not hand material to staff.
  • Filming and video requires advance notice and permission, review our filming policy for more information.

Making copies of library material 

  • Use one of our HoverCams, a high-resolution, standalone document camera. HoverCams attach to your Mac or Windows computer and allow you to save images directly to your laptop. 
  • Bring your camera or camera phone into the Rubenstein reading room to snap digital photos of materials.
  • For high-resolution scans, audiovisual material, or material that requires special handling, place a reading room reproduction request. Your reproductions will be delivered electronically following your research visit.