Before you arrive

Our reading room is currently closed to all non-Duke users. Duke users with a Duke Unique ID (DUID) and a Duke ID card can request an appointment to use the reading room. 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:

  • Request an appointment: Submit your request 5 full business days in advance of the day you plan to visit. A librarian will contact you to set up a brief Zoom consultation. Following the consultation, your appointment will be confirmed, and you will receive instructions regarding visiting and using materials safely.
  • Register as a researcher: This one-time researcher registration process is easy and also 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.
  • Request the material you want to use: Submit your requests 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

  • On your first visit to the Rubenstein Library, we will need to see your Duke ID.
  • 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.