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University Libraries

Smith Reading Room

The Dorothy B. Smith Reading Room is located in the center of the main floor of the Hollings Building. Patrons may request material at the desk from either South Carolina Political Collections or the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19), access to the Hollings Library collections will be by appointment only. The Smith Reading Room will have limited hours, from 10 am – 3 pm, and all users will be required to register and request items in advance with either the Political Collections or Rare Books department. Given the fluid and evolving nature of the situation, we reserve the right to change the access policy, and users should contact us to confirm their visit with either the South Carolina Political Collections or the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. 



Rights and Fair Use

The Hollings Library is a research and study facility. The services provided for the university community and public include access to our historic collections, copying, tours and special library events. It is expected that no library patron will impinge on the rights of other patrons.


Reading Room Policies

The following policies ensure the best and most fair use of the library for all patrons. Please report any violations to the reference staff. Persons who do not abide by the library’s policies may be asked to leave, banned from the building or arrested depending upon the offense committed. The library may refer students to the USC disciplinary committee.

  1. Patrons are required to register with the library in advance or on their first visit during each fiscal year and present a valid photo id when asked.

  2. Patrons will engage in no behavior which endangers the collections or items which they use and will follow all special handling instructions provided by the library staff.

  3. The library is a closed-stack facility. Library materials may not be removed from the reading room.
    • A request slip must be submitted for all items used.
    • Researchers may request up to three books or cartons of manuscripts at one time.
  4. Researchers may only have one carton at their table at any time and no material will be retrieved after 4:30 p.m. When using manuscripts, be careful to preserve the order of the documents and the folders within each carton. Patrons may be required to use digital, microfilm or other versions of materials when such copies exist.
    • Do not place anything directly on the research material you are studying. Place books flat on the table or in a cradle (as directed by reading room staff).
    • Do not force or press open the bindings of books.
    • If the pages of a book are unopened, request help from a staff member. Do not cut pages yourself.
  5. Only pencils and/or computers, cameras and research notes may be taken into the reading room. Nearby lockers are available for the storage of briefcases, backpacks, computer bags, purses and other personal items.

  6. Under certain circumstances, researchers may themselves photograph library holdings. Before doing so, consult staff for a copy of the Camera Use Policy.

  7. Photocopies, scans and other photographs should be ordered from staff using the Reprographics Order Form. Images intended for publication, web use or other dissemination may incur use fees. Copy fees for personal use reflect the library's costs.
    • Items requested for photocopying or other reproduction must be screened by a staff member, both for physical condition and for possible copyright restriction.
    • Materials may be subject to copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and that release of information from the materials may give rise to liability (e.g., for defamation or invasion of privacy).
    • Due to the unique and fragile nature of our holdings, the library may refuse to copy certain materials and may restrict the amount of its holdings which may be copied.
    • Personal scanners are not allowed.
  8. Only quiet conversations that do not disturb others are permitted. Phone calls should be made and taken outside the reading room.

  9. All belongings and notes are subject to being checked by the staff.

  10. Public computer terminals may only be used for searching library databases and resources.

  11. The researcher bears the responsibility of ascertaining who holds copyright to material from library collections which they wish to quote.

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