The reading room will close early at 3:00 p.m. on April 17, 2024.

In-Person Research

The Bentley Historical Library is open to all researchers, including the general public.

Please see our Visiting page for hours and location. If you need help, please email us at bentley.ref@umich.edu or call the library at 734-764-3482!

Before You Visit

  • Each visitor must register for their own Bentley research account.
    • Please register at home to allow more research time with material in the Reading Room. You can also register on our computers or fill out a paper form when you arrive.
    • Appointments are no longer required; however, if you know when you’ll visit (especially if you’re traveling a long way), you can use your account to request an appointment 24 hours before each day of your desired date(s). We tend to get busy at certain times of the year, and setting an appointment will help guarantee that you have an available space in our Reading Room.
    • A Bentley staff member will confirm your appointment.
    • If it is closer than 24 hours to your scheduled date/time, the online system will not let you make or edit an appointment. Please email or call if you need to change or cancel an appointment.
  • Use your Bentley research account to request all material that interests you.
    • We bring material out to you (we are “closed stacks;” you cannot walk around to look at the shelves). If you select one folder in a box, we will retrieve the entire box for your use.
    • You don’t need to assign an appointment to every request. Please use that option to assign one or two boxes/items to your appointment or first day of research. We will place one box at your table so you may begin research right away.
    • If you cannot assign an appointment, use “No appointment” to submit your request to your research account.
  • If you need research help, you can schedule a phone call or video consultation prior to your research appointment by emailing our Reference staff at bentley.ref@umich.edu.

 When You’re Here

  • We have free visitor permit parking on the south side of the building (Lot NC42). When you arrive, we will provide you with a parking permit. Our doors will unlock automatically at the start of our business hours.
  • Please check into the Reading Room at the Welcome desk and check out with staff when you leave.
  • Masks are optional in the library as of March 14, 2022. We have KN95 and surgical masks available if you would like one.
  • You can have one box or up to five books at your research table at one time. Ask staff if you would like to switch out material.
  • You may bring in your own laptop/tablet (free wifi: “MGuest”), cell phone/camera, pencils, pens, materials to take notes, etc. (no permanent markers). You may take photographs of most material with your own camera or cell phone, but personal scanners are not allowed.
  • We have pencils and power strips available in the Reading Room and paper upon request, as well as magnifying glasses, light boxes, and foam supports. We also have three computer stations available to view digital files and search the library catalog, databases, and finding aids. There are two microfilm stations that can scan and save to your USB drive.
  • To minimize distractions, please silence your phone. If you need to take a phone call, please use the foyer or step outside.
  • Please hang coats and jackets in our coatroom and store small personal items in our lockers. We do not allow bags, purses, laptop sleeves, food/drink, or outside coats in the Reading Room.
  • Please wash your hands before starting research to protect the material for future researchers.
  • Pierpont Commons and the Duderstadt Center’s Mujo Cafe are a 5-10 minute walk from the Bentley if you would like a coffee or lunch break; we don’t have vending machines or a break room (please check their websites for open hours). If you bring food and need a space to sit, our courtyard outside the Reading Room has a few small benches, and the Lurie Biomedical Engineering Building across the street has Commons area with an atrium and seating.
  • If you need research help during your visit, we have Reference archivists available — just ask!