John Hay Library:  Virtual Orientation for First-Time Users

Welcome to the John Hay Library!  Built in 1910, the Library was named after John Hay, Class of 1858, who served as Abraham Lincoln's junior private secretary from 1860 to 1865 and who died in 1905 while serving as Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt.  The John Hay Library housed the entire Brown University Library collection until 1964 when the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library was built.  In 1971, when the Sciences Library was built, the John Hay Library became exclusively a repository for rare books, manuscripts, special collections and University Archives.  The Library's non-circulating collections are available for use by all researchers whether affiliated with Brown or not.

Good Luck!As you pass through the lobby notice the bust of John Hay executed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  The nose has been rubbed shiny by generations of Brown students in the hope that doing so would bring good luck. (Use your mouse pointer for a virtual nose-rubbing experience.) On the wall behind the bust is an inscription in memory of John Hay: "Poet, Historian, Diplomatist, Statesman, who maintained the Open Door and the Golden Rule."  (A handicapped entrance is available at the rear of the building.  Please press the buzzer and our staff will meet and escort you by elevator to the first floor.)

Reader Services DeskBeyond the lobby, staff at the Reader Services desk are ready to orient you to the library and assist you in locating materials. Reference and curatorial staff with expert knowledge of the collections are on call for research consultation. If you are not a member of the Brown or RISD communities, we will ask you to fill out a Reader Registration Form.

Electronic Reference Desk Cluster Josiah, the Library's online catalog, is available at a cluster of workstations which also provide access to the internet as well as  to over 80 subscription databases and over 1,000 electronic journals. Because not all special collections materials and formats are recorded in Josiah, it is always advisable to seek staff assistance. The card catalog, frozen in 1989, remains available for consultation as do many specialized files.

Call SlipAs you identify materials that you would like to examine, we will ask you to fill out a call slip (example at left).  You can also use our online paging request form to submit paging requests electronically in advance of your visit. If you hold a Brown photo I.D. we will photocopy on your first visit and return it to you;  if you hold any other form of I.D., we will retain it while you use materials.  There is no predetermined limit on the number of items which may be paged.  Materials that you wish to consult more than once will be held together under your name on "personal reserve" for as long as you need to consult them.

John Hay Library BookstacksAfter you turn in your call slips at the Reader Services desk, please check your bags and coats in our coatroom/locker room.  You may bring notebooks and any other loose research materials into the Reading Room, but no bags.  We ask that you use pencil or a personal computer for note-taking to avoid any inadvertent damage to materials.  A supply of pencils is available in the Reading Room and each table is equipped with a surge protector. While you are checking your belongings, our staff will be working to locate and deliver your requests.

Reading RoomThe door to the Reading Room is kept locked to prevent unauthorized entry.  Reader Services desk staff will be happy to 'buzz you in'.  On the counter to your left is the Reading Room Register.  Please sign in and out.  This register provides us with important statistical and collection-use information.  After signing in, please take a seat and your materials will be delivered to you promptly.  If you have questions about your request, please check with the Reading Room Monitor.  The Reading Room is available for study and is equipped with a public workstation identical to those in the Reader Services area.  Foam book supports, page snakes, a magnifying glass and an ultraviolet light (for reading watermarks) are available.

On-demand staff-operated photocopy services are available, condition and copyright restrictions permitting.  Arrangements can also be made for color photocopies, microfilm, photographs, slides, and digital scans.  A self-service photographic copy stand is available at no charge. For details see:  Reproduction and Publication of Special Collections Material.

When you are finished your work, bring materials to the Reading Room Monitor to be discharged or placed on personal reserve.  If we have retained your I.D., it will be returned at this point.

Collection Box maintained by the Philendean Society.  The 

proceeds were used to purchase books for loan to indigent fellow 

studentsA separate service desk and reading room are available for users of University Archives, which houses Brown's official records, University publications, theses and dissertations, and printed, manuscript, graphic, and audio-visual material about Brown.  Reader Services staff will be happy to direct you to the Archives.

We welcome your comments and suggestions to

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John Hay Library    Brown University   
Box A    20 Prospect Street    Providence, Rhode Island 02912
401-863-3723 (phone)    401-863-2093 (fax)

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