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Using the Minnesota Historical Society Library: Visiting the Library

Visiting the Library

The Gale Family Library house special collections and the Minnesota State Archives.  Because of the special nature of the collections the library functions differently to most other liberties.  

  • None of our materials are available for check out.  Non digitally available materials can only be viewed on-site at the Gale Family Library. 
  • To protect our materials we do not allow any food or drink, bags, coats, or ink pens in the library.  

All researchers must register upon their first visit to the MNHS Library.

To register and receive a permanent Library Registration Card, researchers must present valid photo identification with proof of current home address.
Acceptable photo identification includes:

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • School identification card
  • State identification card
  • MNHS staff identification card

Receiving and using a Library Registration Card signifies that the researcher has read the “Welcome to the Minnesota Historical Society Library” guide and agrees to abide by its policies.

All researchers must show their Library Registration Card at every visit.

Because the MNHS library holds original, fragile, irreplaceable documents and collections there are some rules in place to ensure preservation and protection of the collection. 

Items allowed in the library: 

  • Laptop computers and tablets
    WiFi access is available in both library rooms.
     
  • Cameras
    Camera use is allowed under certain guidelines. Please ask the staff for a "Camera Use Policy" handout.

Items prohibited in the library:

  • Coats and other outerwear
    Free lockers are available to store outerwear. 
     
  • All briefcases, book bags, laptop carriers, handbags/purses, and other personal belongings 
    These items must be left in the locker room. Clear plastic bags are available if you need to bring in computer/camera supplies, money for photocopying, etc.
     
  • Cell phone calls
    All cell phone calls must be placed and/or received in the library lobby.
     
  • Food or beverages (including water)  
     
  • Ink pens or markers 
    Pencils and scratch paper are available for researcher use.
     
  • Personal copiers and scanners
     
  • No downloading is allowed from MNHS computers
    I
    ncluding using outside storage devices such as flash drives, etc.

 

Any person found stealing, defacing, mutilating, or in any way damaging materials will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

In the event of an emergency, patrons are expected to follow all staff instructions including evacuating the reading rooms when asked to do so. Failure to respond to staff instructions may result in loss of MNHS library privileges.

We welcome visits by classes of students from middle school through college and graduate school. To make your visit pleasant and productive, the Library staff have developed the class visit procedures.

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Free Drop-In Library Instruction Class

If you visit the library on any Saturday morning, you can attend our "I'm New Here" class for free. 

The class begins at 9:15 am and a librarian will guide you through each of our rooms, teach you how to search for and request items, and how to have photocopies made.  We will also answer any questions you have about the library and our collections. This class is a great way for researchers new to our library to learn to use their time here most effectively. 

 

Visiting the Library Links

MNHS Reference Staff

reading room bookshelves

Contact Us:


651-259-3300


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Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Tuesday: 9am to 8pm • Wed. to Sat.: 9am to 4pm • Sunday & Monday: Closed • Holiday Hours