Henry Meade Williams Local History Department Access and Use Policy


The Library reserves the right to manage access to and use of all materials within the Local History Collection, subject to the terms defined by this policy.


Materials in the Henry Meade Williams Local History Department at the Harrison Memorial Library are housed in a secure, climate controlled vault, which is kept locked at all times. The Local History Department is open only during posted hours and by appointment with the Local History librarian. All collections are stored in areas that are off-limits to all but qualified staff. (Staff is defined as persons whose place of employment is the Library and who are qualified, based on training and experience, and approved by the Library Director, to work with the collection.) This “closed stacks” policy ensures the security and integrity of the collections. All materials in the department are non-circulating and may not be taken from the department.

Staff must be present and assisting the public through all phases of research and viewing of the collections. Staff will retrieve and open all storage containers and limit the number of items brought out of the vault as she/he deems necessary.

Access to materials may be restricted by condition of gift or deposit; because of their physical condition; or for other reasons. Manuscript material is unique and irreplaceable, and no use may be made of it that might jeopardize its preservation.

Certain parts of the Local History collection are so valuable and/or fragile that these collections may only be viewed by appointment, at a time when the department is not open to the public and with staff in attendance. These collections are: the Tolfree autograph collection, and any materials that are a part of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea Art Collection, such as the Edward Weston photographs, Morley Baer photographs, Ella Harrison Art Collection, etc.

Physical Protection of Materials

Readers are responsible for safeguarding all materials made available for use. Eating and drinking are not permitted. Only approved writing materials (pencils or personal computers) may be used for taking notes while using material from the collection.

Materials may not be leaned on, written on, folded, traced, or handled in any way likely to damage them. Readers must keep papers in their folders, maintaining the order in which they are arranged and handling them as little as possible. A staff member should be notified if papers are found to be out of order. A staff member should also be shown any torn or very fragile materials that might be in need of repair. During use, folders must be kept flat on the table. Books must be used on the table, properly supported if necessary. Readers may be asked to wear gloves when handling materials such as photographs and negatives.

Use, Reproduction, and Copyright

Requests for photocopying and for any reproduction in other formats, including photographic and digital scanning should be made to the Local History Librarian. The copying of any material in the Local History Department is provided and permitted as a research service. Material may be copied when, in the judgment of staff, such copying will not damage the original, does not infringe upon special restrictions imposed by the donor, and is not prevented by U.S. Copyright Law.

Before any reproduction of archival materials, researchers will be asked to sign a Copyright Warning Form detailing the researcher’s responsibilities for identifying the copyright status of the materials they wish to reproduce. The form will expire one year from the date it was signed, at which point the researcher will be asked to review the form and renew their signature.

NOTICE: WARNING CONCERNING COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS :  The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, USC) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, archives and libraries are authorized to furnish a photocopy or reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment would involve violation of copyright law.

  • Photocopying – Photocopies are made only for the private use, scholarship, or research purposes of the individual requesting them. Archival materials are photocopied and reproduced only by Local History staff. Photocopy fees will be charged.
  • Digital scanning – Digital scans are made only for the private use, scholarship, or research purposes of the individual requesting them. Patrons may use the book scanner to produce digital reference copies of archival materials, with the assistance and permission of Local History staff.  Patrons may request professional quality scans of archival materials.
  • Basic camera copying – Simple photographic copies of archival materials for private use, scholarship, or research purposes, using a cell phone or camera with no other equipment (including tripods, weights, cardboard, etc.) and no lights (including flash) are permitted. Copying under these conditions will not produce professional level copies, but rather reference copies.

In all cases, it is the researcher’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library’s collections. The Library can only claim physical ownership of the material; responsibility for identifying and satisfying copyright holders must be assumed by users wishing to publish this material.

Staff does not sign permission to publish forms, nor will they, because the Library does not grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material from the Library’s collections.  The researcher must determine what permissions may be required from the copyright owner or donor.

The Library does not charge permission fees for use of material from the collections.

The nature of historical, archival, and manuscript collections often makes it difficult to determine the exact copyright status of an item. While the Local History Department will try to provide researchers with contact information for the holders of copyright of archival and manuscript holdings, the Local History Department shall not be responsible for any inaccurate information. Staff will not and does not conduct a copyright search for researchers. In such cases it is the researchers’ responsibility to attempt to locate the copyright holder prior to publishing. Staff are unable to counsel users in the application of copyright law.

When material photographed from the Library’s collections is reproduced in a publication, the Library requests that the collection number, artist or creator, and title of the work be published with credit to the Library and the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, such as “Henry Meade Williams Local History Department, Harrison Memorial Library, City of Carmel-by-the-Sea” in a caption or credit.

(Adopted by Harrison Memorial Library Board of Trustees September 2004. Revised February 2014; March 2018; June 2019.)