The Delaware Public Archives Research Room is open to the public and to ensure everyone has the best possible experience we have some Guidelines for anyone wishing to visit the Delaware Public Archives:

  1. Researchers must obtain a Researcher Form to research in the Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Room at the Delaware Public Archives (DPA). Forms must be updated for each visit. A valid State ID card, driver’s license, or a school ID must be presented.
  2. The Delaware Public Archives prohibits researchers from carrying jackets, coats, hats, boxes, briefcases, satchels, valises, purses or other containers into the Research Room. Researchers who have these items will use the storage lockers located in the main lobby. Large containers that will not fit into lockers must be given to Research Room staff to hold. Researchers are not permitted beyond the public areas of the building unless accompanied by staff.
  3. Researchers’ personal belongings must be removed each night from the lockers provided unless special permission is obtained in advance from the supervisory Research Room staff. If personal belongings are not removed from the facilities by the researcher, they will be removed by the DPA personnel.
  4. DPA is not responsible for the loss or theft of articles stored in lockers.
  5. Notes must be taken with a pencil. Ink in any form may not be used. Cameras and scanners are prohibited. Paper, pencils, laptops, thumb drives, notes are permitted.
  6. The Research Room computers are available for approved research purposes. By using the computers, you consent to the rules set forth in the State Information Transport Network Acceptable Use Policy. Any violation of this policy will result in the revocation of your user privileges.
  7. Smoking, eating, and drinking are prohibited in the Research Room. We request that you speak softly at all times; loud talking and other activities likely to disturb other researchers are prohibited.
  8. Researchers must exercise all possible care to prevent damage to records. Records must not be leaned on, written on or over, folded anew, traced or handled in any way likely to cause damage. Exceptionally valuable or fragile records may be used only under the conditions specified by the Research Room attendant. Researchers may be required to wear cotton gloves to handle records if DPA staff deems it necessary (especially for viewing photographs). The number of materials given to a researcher at any given time will be determined by the Research Room staff.
  9. When ordering photocopies or scans, Research Room staff will instruct the researcher on how to identify documents to be copied. Patrons are not to remove items from folders for photocopying but should return items to the original location and give the whole unit (folder, box) to an attendant. All copying of records will be done by Research Room staff with equipment belonging to the Delaware Public Archives. In order to preserve the original records, records that are available on microfilm or are digital will be copied from the microfilm and digital media. Records whose condition or size prevents photocopying will be reproduced by other means determined by DPA staff. A patron may use their smartphone to pictures of documents, photographs, or books after receiving permission from the reference archivist.
  10. Please note the current hours of the Research Room. For security reasons, all records serviced and requests for copies must be returned to staff no later than 15 minutes before closing. The staff stops pulling records 15 minutes before closing.
  11. The Archives holdings do not circulate and researchers may not remove records from the Research Room. Removing or mutilating records is forbidden by law and is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both (11 Del. Code, § 873 and § 876). Upon leaving, a researcher shall present for examination any article that could contain records. All persons and their lockers are subject to search upon exit.
  12. The use of some materials, especially those of recent date, is subject to restrictions prescribed by statute or executive order, or restrictions specified by the donor or agency that created the records. The Research Room staff will advise the researcher of any applicable restrictions at the time the records are requested. In some cases, legal custody and/or control over access of some records that are in the possession of DPA remains with the agency of creation. All requests to access such records will be sent to the creating agency.
  13. All responsibility for infringement of legal copyright is assumed by the user of the materials. Intent to publish any archival material in its entirety or a substantial portion thereof must be requested in writing prior to publication. A copy of any work containing items from the holdings of the Delaware Public Archives is required to be donated to DPA at the time of publication. A publication fee may be charged for some types of work.
  14. If researchers who complete researcher forms refuse to comply with the rules and regulations of the facility, or by their action demonstrate that they present a danger to the records or a danger or disturbance to other researchers or employees, they may have their privileges revoked by the State Archivist or his/her Deputy. A researcher whose privileges are revoked will be denied access to the research area for an indefinite period determined by the State Archivist or his/her Deputy. Doc. Con. #20-06/95/05/01