The Sheridan Libraries will offer limited access to Special Collections and Archives non-circulating materials for Johns Hopkins faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students as part of the university’s Phase 2 Return to Research plan. Access options for faculty and students from other educational institutions will be designated for later dates in the phased Johns Hopkins re-opening plan. Protecting the health and safety of staff and researchers is paramount in plans for every phase of the re-opening process.

Guidelines may change as government agencies and the university issue additional directives. All services are contingent upon the availability of staffing.


Special Collections Reading Room
Brody Learning Commons, M-level

Phase 2 Hours of Operation

  • Monday, 9am –  2pm
  • Wednesday, 9am – 2pm
  • Friday, 9am – 2pm

Scheduling your Visit

For the safety of our staff and researchers, no more than 4 researchers will be allowed in the reading room at a time, and researchers and staff will be required to wear masks/cloth face coverings at all times.

Appointments will be required during this initial reopening phase, and must be requested, along with materials, through our on-line registration system.  See “How to Make an Appointment” below.

Appointments must be made with at least 2 business days in advance. Most of our materials are shelved offsite and require sufficient time for safe retrieval and access.

Do not travel to the library if you have not had a confirmation email from us. If you are not feeling well, please respect everyone’s safety and email our staff to cancel or reschedule your appointment.

How to make an appointment

  1. As you identify what you would like to see in the library catalog, click the blue Request link.
  2. Appointments and requests for materials are completed through the online request management system, Aeon. When prompted to sign-in, use the “login or register” boxes to open or create your account.
  3. When you are making your requests, schedule the date you would like to visit the reading room at the end of the request form, including the time, and press submit. You may place requests for as many materials as you’d like, but will be restricted to using 1 box or up to 3 volumes at a time. Please indicate your priority requests in the Special Requests field.
  4. Staff will email you to confirm your appointment date/time and materials. We will also ask you to confirm you are feeling well, and are not exhibiting any symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  5. The reading room staff will have the materials ready for your visit. You will need to show a school or government-issued ID, which we will photograph using social distancing practices to finish your registration process.
  6. Please plan on bringing your own laptop or tablet to avoid use of public computers.

The day of your visit

Enter through the main entrance of the MSE Library. Inform the security guard of your appointment and provide your name. The guard will contact Special Collections to have a staff member escort you.

Please bring your own water supply to be stored in your assigned locker.

Please observe distancing by the lockers. Lockers will be assigned in a rotating pattern to allow sufficient quarantining between uses.

Researchers may bring only silenced cell phones, digital cameras, wallets, pencils, and laptops or tablets without cases into the reading room. Power cords and headphones for electronic equipment are permitted, as are rulers and magnifying glasses. All other materials must be left in the lockers.

For your safety and that of others

Health status
When scheduling an appointment and during your visit, please keep staff informed if you have a fever or other signs of illness.

Masks/face coverings
The Homewood campus requires that masks/face coverings be worn on campus and throughout all buildings at all times. If you are not wearing a mask/face covering, entry will be denied.

Hand sanitizing
All visitors, staff, and researchers are required to use hand sanitizers posted at the entrance of the Special Collections Reading Room. Soap and water options will also be required and available.

Safe social distancing
All visitors, staff, and researchers are required to maintain a safe social distance of 6 feet throughout the Homewood campus and the library.

In the reading room

To assist in social distancing, you will be assigned a seat that is distanced from the staff and other researchers. Please observe the restrictions indicating safer distances.

Shared surfaces are disinfected after each researcher or at the beginning of each shift and the end of each shift.

Materials have not been disinfected but will have been quarantined. If you have used hand sanitizer, please thoroughly dry your hands so damaging residue is not transferred to the materials. Researchers will not wear gloves in the reading room.

While in the reading room, you will have access to one box or up to 3 volumes on your table at one time. Let staff know when you are finished, and they will remove the box/book(s) and set up any additional material you have requested.

Please contact us by email to if you have questions or need additional information.