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SHSU Special Collections Policies and Procedures

Reading Room Policy

Thomason Special Collections

Reading Room Policy

Welcome to the Thomason Special Collections Department, a division of the Newton Gresham Library – Sam Houston State University. The mission of the Thomason Room Special Collections department is to provide access to rare books and manuscripts while protecting them for future generations. To facilitate both access and preservation, we have implemented the following policies:

  1. As patrons enter Thomason Special Collections, they deposit their backpacks, purses, coats and other belongings on one of two shelves on either side of the entrance to the Thomason Room.

  2. To protect the materials in the Thomason Room, patrons are asked to bring only pencils, loose leaf paper, laptops and/or scanning equipment (including cameras and necessary attachments).

  3. Patrons are asked to sign in, filling out a basic informational form.

  4. Please note that eating and drinking is prohibited in the Thomason Room.

  5. Please turn off your cell phone while in the Thomason Room. If you must take a call, please step out into the hall.

  6. If you do not have a pencil or need additional paper, ask a staff member and they will provide you with the items you need.

  7. Please note: Special Collections items are often fragile or are housed in a specific way. Therefore, the items in Thomason Special Collections are in a closed stacks environment, and must be retrieved by a staff member. If you have the call number of an item that you would like to see, give it to the staff member and ask to see the item in question. They will bring it out to you.

  8. If you have a specific research interest, either email that research request to or simply come to the Thomason Room Special Collections Department on the 4th floor of the Newton Gresham Library between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and we will do our best to help you with your research!

  9. Finally, researchers must cite all materials they use in publications. Please include the full name of the collection or item and of the department, for example:

    Powell Letters. THR###. Series 1, Box 2, Folder 3. Newton Gresham Library, Thomason Room Special Collections, 1830 Bobby K. Marks Drive, Box 2179, Huntsville, TX 77341


Here are some notes about the best practices for the care and handling of manuscripts and rare books held in the Thomason Room:

  • An accidental mark with a pen is forever – use pencils only.

  • Remove one folder at a time from a box.

  • When looking through a folder, do not remove individual items from their original order. Request acid free bookmarks and use them to flag items you wish to come back to (or flag them if you plan to request copies).

  • Do not trace over manuscripts or apply pressure onto manuscript or rare book materials.

  • Do not leave books open and upside down, this can do irreparable damage to the spine.


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