Visiting the MHS Library
The Maine Historical Society Research Library welcomes the use of its collections by historians, writers, educators, students and genealogists. Visiting the Library is truly a unique experience where you can see one–of–a–kind material about Maine's history and people. MHS works to collect and preserve these collections, and we have instituted policies and procedures to protect our holdings for the future. Please note: Library collections do not circulate.
- The Library is open Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We are closed on holidays and holiday weekends, and occasionally close due to inclement weather. Please call ahead before traveling great distances.
- The library is open to members and students free of charge, and to the general public for a fee. First-time visitors receive a free day of research, but for subsequent visits, we ask that you become a member or pay a daily fee.
- The lower level book stacks in the reading room are open for browsing. Patrons are asked to refrain from re-shelving books. The mezzanine stacks are restricted to members only. All manuscripts, special collections and items in locked storage must be paged through the staff, regardless of membership status.
- Some special collections materials, newspapers and annual reports are stored off-site and require 2–3 days notice for retrieval. Please inquire.
- Fragile materials, including original photographs, maps, documents and newspapers, may be restricted at the discretion of the reference staff.
- Archival and manuscript materials may not be photocopied or scanned. All duplication of such materials will be handled by our Image Services Department, for which fees apply. Please see below for specifics. Members of the society may use non-flash digital cameras, upon staff approval.
- Each visitor is required to fill out a Researcher Registration form (PDF). You can print this form and bring it with you to save time. We will also ask to photocopy your driver's license or another picture I.D. Please have these ready upon check–in.
- Please sign the Researcher Day Book each time you visit the Library.
Reading Room Policies
- Currently, MHS has one reading room for all public research. We ask that you work cooperatively and quietly with those around you. While talking is not prohibited, we do ask that you converse quietly. Please hold extended conversations or the use your cellular phones in the lobby.
- Upon entering the library, all coats, bags, purses, backpacks, umbrellas and other outside gear must be checked in the lockers provided in the lobby. Please avoid bringing oversized bags or luggage to the library. While laptops are welcome, laptop bags must be checked.
- Scanners and video cameras are not allowed. Use of a non-flash camera is limited to members of the society, including camera phones.
- The Reading Room is equipped with public access computers, microfilm reader–printers and a photocopier. Please be aware of others waiting to use the equipment. The staff may impose time limits and a sign–up list system when the Library is busy.
- Wireless Internet connection is available. Staff is not able to provide technical assistance, however. Electrical outlets are also available.
- No food or drinks are allowed in the reading room. A patron lounge is available at the top of the lobby stairs for lunch, as well as the Longfellow Garden which is open seasonally.
- Our collections do not circulate and no materials may leave the Library.
- Our collections catalog is available through our online catalog, Minerva. This is a shared catalog with many other Maine libraries so be sure that the materials you want are actually held at MHS. (You may limit your search to MHS–only holdings.) If you have questions about our holdings please use the Ask a Librarian form.
- Please read and observe the Collections Guidelines on the second page of the registration form, which are also posted on the tables throughout the Reading Room. To gain access to the collections, these rules must be observed, which have been instated to safeguard our Collections.
- The reference staff retrieves manuscripts, rare books, maps, photographs and pamphlets. Please complete a Request for Special Materials card for each request of this type. These are available from the staff.
Photocopies and Photography
- Photocopying is limited. Many of our holdings are fragile, rare or unique, therefore we prohibit photocopying the following: manuscripts (all original materials such as letters and diaries), maps, original newspapers, architectural drawings, oversized items and fragile books. We reserve the right to restrict photocopying of any material in our holdings.
- Much of our book collection can be photocopied. Please observe the "Do Not Photocopy" notices on some of the older or more fragile books. All copying is self-service and the fees are:
- Title page is free (for documentation)
- 8 1/2"x 11" copies are $.15.
- 11" x 17" copies are $.25
- Copies from the microfilm reader printers and computer are $.25 per page.
- We also offer a limited photocopying service.
- Scanning is not allowed. Photography is limited to members and subject to staff approval. Nearly 20,000 images are available online through the Maine Memory Network. If you require a photographic or digital copy please ask to speak with our Image Services Coordinator or go to our Image Services section for information about Rights and Reproductions. You may also order reproductions from our collections at www.vintagemaineimages.com, an additional website run by Maine Historical Society
- A United States Copyright notice is posted by the photocopier. All users must abide by this law and are responsible for any violation.