Archival and Special Collections Research Reservation FAQ

Q: How does the reservation system work?

A: Begin by requesting materials through the specialized collections request system. You’ll receive instructions to reserve time in the reading room once we verify that your items are available and that we can bring them to Doheny. Find more details about the process at:


Q: Is Special Collections open?

A: By reservation. We’re providing access to archives and other specialized collections in the Special Collections reading room by reservation only.

We’ll bring requested special and archival materials from other library locations to Doheny, which will serve as a temporary hub for this purpose. After you request your materials, you’ll receive an email with instructions for reserving research time in the reading room.


Q: Is Trojan Check required in the libraries?

A: Faculty, staff, students, and visitors are required to complete symptom checks through Trojan Check. All faculty, staff, students, and guests should stay home if they are sick.


Q: Are masks required in the libraries?

A: Yes. In line with County of L.A. and university guidelines, masks are required at all times inside library spaces regardless of vaccination status.


Q: What are the hours for research reservations?

A: Doheny Library is open for research reservations only between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Q: How often can I make a reservation?

A: Reservations are available until filled. Please only make reservations you plan to use. If we begin to approach current capacity, the libraries may limit the number of reservations per person to provide time in the reading room as equitably as possible.


Q: Do I need to arrive at 11:00 a.m.?

A: No, but the reservation ends when Doheny closes at 4:00 p.m. 


Q: Can I make a same-day reservation?

A: Same-day reservations aren't possible, as we often need to retrieve materials from other locations. We also need to maintain capacity limits carefully to make our reading room as safe as possible.


Q: Who can make a reservation for research with special collections?

A: Members of the USC community and researchers who are not affiliated with USC.


Q: Can USC undergraduates make research reservations?

A: Yes. We welcome and encourage undergraduate research with our archives and other special collections.


Q: Why do I have to make a reservation?

A: The libraries are opening with limited capacity to help keep everyone safe. Reservations allow us to maintain physical distancing, cleaning schedules, and compliance with university and county health guidelines.


Q: What do I need to do before I arrive for my scheduled research time?

A: Please check in prior to arriving using the link in your confirmation email, and complete the Trojan Check process. Please wear your mask and be prepared to show your reservation check-in confirmation and your physical USC ID card when you arrive.


Q: How far in advance should I make my initial request for materials?

A: As early as possible. Delivering items to Doheny can take up to one week under current conditions.


Q: Can I leave and return during my reservation period?

A: Yes, but please take your belongings with you. You will need to present your confirmation and your physical USC ID card each time you enter the library.


Q: Do I need to wear a mask while I’m working with special collections?

A: Yes. Masks are required at all times in library spaces.


Q: Can I bring water or food into the library?

A: Food and drink are not permitted in the reading room or elsewhere in Doheny.


Q: When will more library buildings open?

A: Doheny, Leavey, Norris Medical, and the Science & Engineering Libraries are now open for study by reservation. Pending conditions, we’re planning to open additional library spaces throughout the spring and summer. Please check regularly for up-to-date information.


Q: I already did Trojan Check. Do I need a research reservation, too?

A: Yes. Please make your research reservation using the link you received in the email notifying you that your items are available.