Skip to Main Content
Ask A Librarian

Introduction to Primary Source Research: WVRHC Policies and Procedures


Appointments for paged material must be booked in advance. For further information, including use guidelines, please see our visit page.

Rules for use

In advance of your visit, we ask that you read through and agree to the WVRHC access policy.

While rules and regulations may be intimidating at first, it’s good to remember that they are in place to preserve the materials not to police you. Archives exist to care for, preserve, and provide access to material, so researchers like you will be able to use them, hopefully forever. So, if these rules are followed, we can better care for the material.

  • Clean, dry hands are best practice, not the white gloves you may see on TV or in movies. Oils in your hands can damage the paper, so that’s why we ask you to wash them. White gloves, on the other hand, reduce dexterity and increase the likelihood of damage. If you’re using photographs, we will ask you to wear gloves because fingerprints can permanently damage the picture.
  • Food and drink can stain material, but can also lure pests that eat paper
  • We use pencils because we understand that accidents happen and it can be removed. Ink is permanent
  • Materials should be kept in the order in which you received it. This means going through things slowly and methodically, one box and one folder at a time. The order provides context for your research, even if things seem out of order. If you are concerned, you can flag it and alert an archivist, don’t try to reorganize things.  


10 Tips for Reading Room Success

These guidelines from Harvard how to handle special collections material, as well as why we ask you to take extra care while using our material.

10 Tips for Reading Room Success

Handling Archival Material