Welcome to the Bentley Historical Library!

We are pleased that you have found the library of potential use for your research. The Bentley Historical Library is open without fee to all researchers regardless of academic or professional affiliation. The library, as a repository of historical manuscripts, archives, photographs, maps, and printed works on the history of Michigan, serves two main purposes. First, we collect this documentation to ensure its availability and preservation for generations to come. Secondly, we encourage its use by people interested in Michigan's past. Sometimes our commitment to the first purpose limits our capacity to respond to the second. Therefore, while using our holdings in the reading room, researchers are asked to observe the regulations described below, which have been established to create an atmosphere conducive to research while ensuring the continued preservation of the collections. Thank you for acquainting yourself with our reading room procedures. History can be as interesting as it is important. The staff of the Bentley Library hopes your visit here will be worthwhile and productive. Please do not hesitate to seek assistance from our staff at any time.

Terrence J. McDonald, Director

Preliminary steps and security for on-site use of the collections

Our responsibility for proper care of the unique materials entrusted to us requires us to institute the following safeguards in the reading room:
  1. Researchers must leave coats and other outerwear in the coatroom.
  2. All briefcases, book bags, handbags, books, newspapers, and other personal belongings must be left in the lockers which are located in the coatroom.
  3. Cell phone and scanner use is prohibited in the Reading Room.
  4. Researchers are required to leave identification at the Reference Desk. The identification will be returned to the researcher once he or she has relinquished all materials. Acceptable forms of identification are: Driver's License, U of M Student, Faculty, or Staff Identification, Passport, or other forms accepted by the Reference Archivist. Photo Identification is preferred. We appreciate your understanding of the concern we have for the long-term guardianship of these materials.
  5. Laptop computers, digital cameras, note paper, and note cards, may be taken into the reading room. Outlets for laptop computers are available at every table. Personal materials used in the reading room may be searched when the researcher leaves.
  6. Each researcher must fill out a researcher registration form during their first visit to the Bentley and sign the register book at each subsequent visit. Registration forms establish researcher identity, assist the reference staff by defining his/her research topic, and are valid for one calendar year. Signing the registration form signifies that the researcher has read the "Guide to Use of the Bentley Historical Library" and agrees to abide by its' policies.
  7. Any person found stealing, defacing, mutilating, or in any way damaging materials will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Requesting materials

  1. Researchers must fill out call slips for each box or item requested. Call slips are retained by the library for security purposes.
  2. The reading room is open over the noon hour, however, on occasion there may not be paging due to a staff shortage. Requests for materials are not accepted after 4:40 p.m.

Note: The Library does not have a telephone for public use.

To help us provide maximum physical protection for the records, please follow these procedures:

  1. Use materials only in the reading room. Materials may not be removed to any other area of the building.
  2. Take notes either in pencil or in ball-point pen. Laptop computers, cameras and recording devices are also permitted, provided that their use does not disturb other researches and that such use does not physically damage the collection nor incur copyright infringement.
  3. Make no marks on the materials. Do not write notes on top of materials or rest books or other objects on the surface of items used. Do not lean on materials. Tracing is not permitted.
  4. In handling either photographs or photographic negatives, wear gloves provided by the reference staff. Handle any photographic image by the edges.
  5. Only one box or five books may be used at a time. Remove only one folder at a time. Use out-cards proved by the reference staff to mark the place of the folder in the box. Put folders and items back in the same order and facing the same way you received them.
  6. Researchers may eat and drink in the lounge. In accordance with University of Michigan policy, the Bentley Library prohibits smoking.
  7. Cell phones are not to be used in the reading room (except to take photographs), if brought in, they must be turned off or set to vibrate. Cell phones can be used in the foyer.

Ordering duplication of materials

  1. Ask the reference staff for assistance and information about the possibility of duplication. Upon request the reference staff will provide researchers with written instructions for duplication. DO NOT REMOVE ITEMS FROM THE COLLECTION. The library reserves the right to restrict duplication.
  2. The Reference Staff will endeavor to provide photocopy orders of ten pages or less on the same day. Larger\ photocopy orders will generally be ready within 48 hours and orders for photograph and audio-visual materials will take approximately two weeks to complete.

Copyright of unpublished materials

The current copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code), effective 1 January 1978, provides copyright protection for both published materials and for unpublished materials formerly protected by the common law. The current law provides for eventual termination of copyright. However, it establishes an interim period of twenty-five years during which unpublished older materials, formerly covered by the common law, will continue to be protected, regardless of the date of creation. No unpublished work will enter the public domain until January 2003.

The holder of the copyright has the right to publish the work, regardless of monetary value, literary merit, or historical significance. Ideas and information, however, are not protected by copyright. The author or creator of a work, or the heirs or assignees of the creator own the copyright, which can sometimes be separate from the ownership of the physical object. Copyright is not transferred with the object unless there is a specific transfer of the copyright along with the object.

The current copyright law provides that "fair use" is a limitation on the exclusive rights of the author. While "fair use" is not defined, guidelines for its interpretation include limited, non-profit use for scholarship (Section 107)

There is some ambiguity in the provisions of the law in regard to photocopying, but it seems clear that the intention is to facilitate private use. No copy should be requested or made except for such a purpose and any person obtaining a copy assumes a liability for any personal or later use exceeding "fair use" (Section 108). The Bentley Historical Library makes copies available only for private study. The researcher, by signing the researcher registration card, agrees not to quote, publish, reproduce, or display the copy in whole or in part without permission. Copies may not be further duplicated, nor deposited in or given to other institutions without the written permission of the director of the library. Copies may not be sold or lent to any other individual.

Permission to publish should be requested from the Bentley Historical Library as owner or custodian of the physical object and also from the copyright owner. The Bentley Historical Library will try to assist in identifying and locating the copyright owner but is not always able to do so. Securing permission to publish is the responsibility of the user. There has been little litigation regarding use of unpublished material. In cases of specific concern, legal advice should be sought.

For additional copyright information see the page maintained by the Office of Vice President and General Counsel.

On another legal matter, the researcher is warned that the use of libelous statements or the invasion of privacy is actionable under law. The researcher, by signing the researcher registration card, agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan and the Bentley Historical Library and its staff against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of his/her use of unpublished materials here.