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Special Collections Access Policy

The special collections (historic library and archives) of Sidney Sussex College are maintained to preserve the documentary heritage of the College. The special collections are housed in the Muniment Room, and are open to anyone, regardless of race, religion, gender or disability, who can demonstrate a reasonable need to consult material that they contain.

Enquiries about the collection can also be made by telephone, fax and e-mail, and the Archivist may also be able to satisfy requests for photographic or microfilm reproduction of suitable materials. The College is particularly concerned to ensure access for users with disabilities. There is wheelchair access to the Muniment Room, and steps within the College are provided with ramps and/or handrails.

The College is keen to promote awareness of the contents of the collection:

by providing access to on-line bibliographic records and finding aids
by exhibition both within the college, and nationally and internationally
by working with record offices and archives in areas to which the material relates by publication of scholarly works

The Muniment Room is open to visiting readers, 9.00-12.55 and 2.00-5.15, Monday to Friday. It is closed for a short period at Christmas and Easter, and also for two weeks during the Long Vacation.

No material may be removed from the Muniment Room, except for the purposes of exhibition, and then only under the supervision of the Archivist. The Keeper of Muniments must be satisfied that the material will be exhibited under secure and environmentally suitable conditions, and that the material is insured whilst in transit and on exhibition.

As the Muniment Room can only accommodate one person at a time for the purpose of study, it is necessary to make an appointment. Readers are requested to arrange their visits in advance, either in writing, by telephone, or by e-mail to the Archivist. They must be able to produce means of identification, and (where this is appropriate) a letter of introduction from a senior member of their university. Not more than one manuscript or three printed books will normally be issued at any one time.

All material must be handled with great care, and must not be marked in any way. Only pencil may be used. No tracings or rubbings may be made without specific permission. No books, papers or other objects (except book-weights) may be laid on the material. Bound volumes must be consulted on the book-rests.