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Using the Minnesota Historical Society Library: Visiting 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.

Rules for Using the Library

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. 

  • Coats and other outerwear are not permitted in the library. These items must be left  in the locker room. Coin-return lockers are located in the locker room. They require a $0.25 deposit, which is returned when the locker is opened.
  • All briefcases, book bags, laptop carriers, handbags/purses, and other personal belongings are not permitted in the library. 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 are not permitted in the library. All cell phone calls must be placed and/or received in the library lobby.
  • Food or beverages (including water) are not permitted in the library. 
  • Ink pens or markers are not permitted in the library.  Pencils and scratch paper are available for researcher use.
  • Laptop computers are allowed in the library and WiFi access is available in both library rooms.
  • Personal copiers and scanners are not permitted in the library. 
  • No downloading is allowed from MNHS computers including using outside storage devices such as flash drives, etc.
  • Camera use is allowed under certain guidelines. Please ask the staff for a "Camera Use Policy" handout.

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.

Bringing a Class to the Library

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.

Visiting the Library Links

Library Instruction Class

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

We'll tell you about our collections, answer questions, and give you a tour of our rooms.

MNHS Reference Staff

reading room bookshelves

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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