Sub-Pages: Guide for Researchers | Research Requests

Guide for Researchers

Visiting the Library

There is no need to make an appointment in advance to conduct research in the library; however, you may choose to make an appointment or notify the Librarian in advance of your visit so that we can have materials ready for you when you visit.Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at 518-374-0263, option 3, or email our Librarian. You can browse and search guides to a number of our collections in advance of your visit. Schenectady County Historical Society members have unlimited use of our library as a benefit of their membership; non-members pay $5.00 per person, per visit to use the library. Researchers are also asked to sign in at our library register. Hours, directions, and other information about planning a visit to the library can be found on our Visit page.

Library Registration Form

Researchers will need to fill out a yearly registration form in order to use the library. The form can be accessed online and filled out prior to visiting the library by following this link: Library Registration Form. Researchers will also need to present photo identification along with the registration form.

Research Room Regulations

Coats, briefcases, bookbags, parcels, and personal books are not permitted in the research area. Please leave them in the lockers provided in the entrance area. The Library reserves the right to inspect all research materials and personal articles before the researcher leaves the library. Eating, drinking, and cell phone use are not permitted in the library. Cell phones can be used in the lobby area. Time limits may be placed on the use of the microfilm reader-printer or public access computers as necessary.

Access to Materials

Our collections are intended for use, and are made available to the public. No special permission or letters of introduction are required for use of any library materials, including archives and manuscript collections. All materials on the Library’s shelves are open for browsing. Finding aids and guides are available for our collections of surname files and clipping files, maps, photographs, and collections of personal papers and organizational records. Researchers are encouraged to contact the Librarian directly to arrange for access to archival materials. Researchers may be limited to using one folder or item at a time for some collections.

Handling of Materials

All archival materials must be handled carefully: use only one folder at a time and keep the papers in their existing order.
Do not lean or press on archival materials. Do not trace maps or other records. Researchers will be provided with cotton gloves to wear when handling photographs and negatives. No ink of any kind may be used in the research area; use pencils only. Please do not reshelve or refile materials; leave all materials on tables for reshelving by staff and volunteers.

Computers and Internet Access

Researchers are welcome to bring their laptops, tablets, and smartphones for use in their research. Wireless internet access is available. We also have public computers available for visitors to use for research in our library, including access to the library’s subscription to research databases.

Photocopying and Printing

Photocopies are 25 cents per page for sizes 8.5″ x 11″ (letter) and 8.5″ x 14″ (legal). All photocopies must be made by volunteers or staff members. The cost of printing from the microfilm reader-printer or from a computer is also 25 cents per page.

Digital Copies and Scanning

Digital copies of photographs and documents in the library can be made at the discretion of the library staff. When scans are made by staff using library equipment, the charge for a single scan is $1.00 per image for low-resolution JPG scans, $5.00 per image for high-resolution scans, and $5.00 per image for TIFF scans. The maximum size of scan area for our scanner is 12″ x 17″. Scans are made at a default resolution of 300 dpi. All fees must be prepaid.

Library users are welcome to use their own camera equipment to make digital copies of materials (please contact the Librarian regarding use of personal scanners). Flash photography is not permitted. Researchers who use their own equipment for reproduction of materials must complete the form Agreement for Permission to Photograph Library Collections. There are no charges assessed for digital images made by researchers for personal use. Additional permissions and fees apply for the publishing or public exhibition of images of our library’s collections.

Permission to Publish and Copyright

Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the library’s collections is coordinated through the Librarian. Please contact 518-374-0263, option 3, or email our Librarian for information on obtaining permission to publish images or documents from our collections.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions (such as donor restrictions, privacy rights, licensing, and trademarks) when publishing reproductions of materials obtained in the library. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction for “private study, scholarship, or research.” If a researcher makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of this “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The web site of the United States Copyright Office at the Library of Congress contains valuable and extensive information regarding United States Copyright Law.