Obtaining a Reader's Card

A reader's card allows this reader to explore objects in the collection.
A reader's card allows this reader to explore objects in the Newberry’s collections.

The Newberry’s reading rooms are open to researchers who are at least 16 years old or juniors in high school. Before using the collections, all researchers must apply for and receive a reader’s card. Issued in the Reference Center on the third floor, cards require a valid photo ID, proof of current home address, and a research interest that is supported by the Newberry’s collections.

Individuals may apply for a reader’s card Tuesday through Saturday, during reading room Hours. There is no fee for a reader’s card, or for use of the library generally, although researchers do pay for photoduplication services. As an independent research library, the Newberry relies on the generous support of readers and friends to expand and maintain its collections. Donations are welcomed and appreciated.

Acceptable forms of photo ID include:

  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID
  • Student ID
  • Passport

Acceptable proof of current home address include:

  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID
  • Utility bill
  • Paystub
  • Personal check

Research Interests

The Newberry’s collections focus on the humanities, which is a broad category of academic disciplines that includes history, literature, art, foreign languages and cultures, music, philosophy, and religion. If you are unsure whether the library’s collections suit your research interests, please check our Online Catalog, browse our Core Collections, view Research Guides to topics covered in our collections, or Contact a Librarian.

Researchers under the Age of 16

The Newberry encourages researchers under the age of 16 (or younger than juniors in high school) to email or call the reference staff with questions. Although the reading rooms are not open to younger researchers, the Newberry’s email and phone reference service is available to everyone. In many cases, the reference staff may be able to suggest other libraries, resources, or websites that are appropriate to your research. Contact a Librarian for more information.