Using The Bancroft Library

The corner of Bancroft Library exterior
The Bancroft Library welcomes researchers and scholars into the Heller Reading Room to view materials. (Photo by Jami Smith/UC Berkeley Library)

Conditions of use

The Bancroft Library welcomes researchers from the UC Berkeley campus, nationally, and from around the world. We are a non-circulating library, so all materials must be consulted in the Heller Reading Room. Bancroft materials are unique or rare, and some are in fragile condition. Researchers must handle all materials with care (here’s how), to avoid loss or damage, and by following these conditions of use, which are designed to protect Bancroft collections while providing the best possible access to our researchers. The Aeon online registration form constitutes an agreement by the researcher to comply with the Library's stated policies for use of its materials.

Bancroft Library researchers must be at least 18 years old, or have graduated from high school, or be accompanied by an adult. Current government, UC Berkeley, or other academic photo identification, and registration in Aeon are required to enter the Reading Room. The Bancroft Library is under camera surveillance. 

The registration desk will issue researchers a daily reader card during the sign-in process. Print your name on the card and present it to the circulation desk to obtain your requested material. The card will be checked at the registration desk each time you re-enter the Reading Room. At the end of the day, the registration desk will collect the card.

Paging ends 15 minutes before the Reading Room closes and all material must be returned to the circulation desk at closing time.

Bancroft staff are available to answer questions about our procedures and to otherwise assist researchers. For further information, please email

General rules

  1. The Reading Room is reserved for the active use of Bancroft materials only. These materials are non-circulating (i.e. cannot be checked out).
  2. Researchers may bring a cell phone, laptop, tablet, one notebook or one pad of paper (without loose sheets or pockets), and/or up to five sheets of loose paper. 
  3. Personal belongings — including coats, bags, purses, and umbrellas — must be stored in Bancroft’s lockers which are operated by a refundable quarter. 
  4. If you need to bring personal research materials (books/photographs/etc.) into the reading room, please request a personal property pass at the security desk.
  5. All personal items taken out of the Reading Room must be presented for inspection at the registration desk and the security desk upon departure. This includes opening laptop computers. 
  6. No eating, drinking, chewing gum, or smoking in The Bancroft Library. Cell phone calls may be taken outside the Reading Room.
  7. Only pencils in the Reading Room. No ink.
  8. Please handle all Bancroft materials with care and follow staff instructions.If you'd like to learn more about the safe handling of materials, please review the guidelines on our website.
  9. Researchers must abide by the Library Code of Conduct. 

Using cameras 

The Bancroft Library encourages the use of personal cameras in the Reading Room under the following conditions:

  1. Only hand-held cameras, cell phones, and tablets in silent mode with flash disabled may be used. 
  2. All photographs must be for personal research use only. Photographs taken in the Reading Room may not be published, posted online, donated or sold to another repository, or exhibited.  Researchers interested in obtaining high-resolution images and permission to publish can learn more about options via the duplication inquiries link on the Bancroft website. 
  3. Include a completed citation strip in the frame of each photograph. 
  4. Handle all materials with care. Material must remain flat on the table or in an appropriate book cradle. Reading Room staff may assist in positioning the item so that it is fully supported. Please do not rearrange furniture or stand on chairs or tables. 
    • Archival materials must be photographed in their folder, keeping their order intact. 
    • Books should only be opened as far as their spines will easily allow without pressing down. 
    • Material should remain in their sleeves or mats. Staff will assist when fasteners need to be removed
  5. Researchers are responsible for complying with all intellectual property laws. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless The Bancroft Library and the University of California, including agents and employees, against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of these photographs. 
  6. Please do not photograph library staff, the Reading Room, or other researchers. Take care not to disturb others. 

Privacy and personally identifiable information

Collections that include 20th and 21st-century archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal, state, and/or global "right to privacy" laws. You agree to make no notes or other record of privacy-protected personally identifiable information found within archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose.

In the event that you encounter materials that contain sensitive or confidential information, such as social security numbers or other personally identifiable information, please bring the materials to the attention of a Bancroft Library staff member. In accessing collections in our repository, you assume all responsibility for potential infringement of privacy in your use of the material, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless The Bancroft Library and the University of California, its agents and employees against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses arising out of your use of collections.

Using online collections

The Bancroft Library is committed to making our digital collections available for private study, scholarship, teaching, and research.

Some materials in Bancroft collections may be protected by the United States copyright law (U.S. Code, Title 17) and/or restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing, and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Researchers interested in acquiring high-resolution images can learn more about the options in our Duplication and Permission LibGuide.

The Bancroft Library encourages and supports research, teaching, and scholarship to advance global knowledge and understanding. Please see our Permissions Policies page for inquiries about obtaining permission to quote/excerpt or republish materials from Library collections.

We are dedicated to protecting the rights of creators and copyright holders, and are always interested in learning more about the materials in Bancroft collections. If you have specific information about collections posted by The Bancroft Library, please contact us at