Ask a Librarian

Reading Room Rules

Sign In:
Sign in when you enter the archive. The sign in book is on a podium near the door.

Stow Your Bags:
Inside the entrance to the HRC is a cabinet. Please stow your extra items, such as purses, bags, backpacks and coats. Clients are allowed to bring in a notepad, pencils, computers, smart phones and cameras into the reading room. Computer bags should also be stowed.

No Ink:
Only use pencil for hand written notes. Pencils and paper will be provided if necessary. Digital devices are also acceptable. Any permanent type of marker is prohibited in the reading room.

Digital is OK:
Laptops, smart phones and tablet devices are welcome. Power strips are available. Consult with an archivist before using a camera or scanner.

Be Quiet:
If you must talk on your mobile device, please be mindful of staff and other researchers and step outside. If you are expecting a call, staff can arrange for you to use an office for privacy during your conversation.

A wireless connection through the library network is available. Please consult a member of the staff for guest user ID and password.

The archive is often chilly. Bring a jacket or sweater even in the summer.

Finding Aids:
Finding aids or inventories are available for many, but not all, of the collections. Please consult with an archivist.


  • Four to five boxes on a cart will be available
    Only work in one box at a time; only work in one folder at a time
    Pull each folder out of the box before looking through its contents
    Return each folder to the box as when finished
  • Do not remove staples or paper clips
    Do not dog-ear pages, do not fold pages on a staple
    White gloves will be provided to individuals examining rare materials or photographs

 Copies and scans:

  • Photocopy fees are $.25 per page for library cardholders and $.30 for non-cardholders plus Houston City tax
  • Scanned image fees vary in price according to the intended use and the materials. Please consult an archivist
  • Consult with an archivist about prices for large quantities of copies or for special reproduction services
  • Material Request Fees

 Food and Drink:
No food or drinks are allowed in the reading room. Ask an archivist about nearby dining facilities or or bringing lunch or snacks.