The reopening of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library research room is part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)'s approach to safely reopening research rooms based on local public health conditions, facility readiness, and available staffing. Ford Library staff will continue to provide reference services via remote means as much as possible. This includes providing information via email, phone, social media, History Hub, and video conferencing, as well as providing reproduction services.
An important step in ensuring successful on-site research is providing our researchers with information about how to make their experience as effective and efficient as possible, while ensuring the overall safety of staff and visitors. Therefore, the following new procedures and processes for conducting on-site research at the Ford Library during the COVID-19 pandemic will be in effect.
Research Room Operations:
- The research room will be open Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. by scheduled appointment only. Appointments are made on a first come, first served basis, following consultation with an archivist.
- Researchers must consult with an archivist by submitting an email with preliminary information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Appointments are for one person only - no teams or groups of researchers per social distancing practices.
- Appointments are for an entire day.
- Each researcher may book up to one appointment at a time, which can be for one to five days during a week.
- Appointments will be confirmed at least two days prior to the researcher’s arrival. Upon arrival, a research table number will be provided to the researcher for use in the research room.
Social Distancing and Safety Measures in Research Rooms:
- Social distancing procedures and other safety protocols will be in place for the protection of both staff and researchers. Face coverings are permitted but not required.
- To protect staff and researchers, the research room will be modified to ensure social distancing and limit person to person contact. Modifications include:
- One person per table.
- Readily available hand sanitizer outside of the research room.
- Use of public access computers is permitted. Researchers will clean the keyboard after each use with sanitizing wipes made available by the Ford Library.
- Use of the self-service photocopier is permitted. Researchers will clean the self-service copier after each use with sanitizing wipes made available by the Ford Library.
- Use of the microfiche reader is permitted. Researchers will clean the microfiche reader after each use with sanitizing wipes made available by the Ford Library.
- Paper for taking notes will be provided on a limited basis. When possible, researchers will be encouraged to take notes using their phone, tablet, laptop, or other device.
- Researchers may bring their own equipment (on the approved NARA list) to copy materials and should discuss the options for reproducing specific materials during the consultation process.
- Researcher registration will be necessary for first time researchers and for researchers with expired researcher cards.
- To register or renew a researcher card:
- Ford Library staff will send the research application form and orientation materials to the researcher, instructing them to review the material prior to their visit.
- If a researcher does not complete the orientation prior to arrival at the Library, they may complete the registration overview on-site using the Ford Library’s public access computers or through the Library’s Wi-Fi on their phone, tablet, or laptop.
- Researchers will need to present a government issued ID card to the registration staff to be issued a researcher ID card.
- Storage lockers will be available for researchers, based on the research room capacity.
- Researchers should make every effort to limit the number of personal belongings they bring to the Library.
- Researchers will clean their locker upon their departure for the day using sanitizing wipes made available by the Ford Library.
Pulls and Refiles:
- Researchers will provide an initial list of 10 boxes to pull in advance of their visit.
- For the initial request, pull slips will be filled out by Ford Library staff members to ensure material is pulled before the researcher arrives at the facility. Researchers will fill out their own pull slips for any additional pulls.
- A Ford Library staff member will bring the records to the assigned table upon the researcher’s arrival. Pull slips will be placed on top of the cart, and the staff person will stand six feet away from the researcher to explain the process for signing records in and out, as well as how to use them.
- In addition to not providing access to material that is digitized and available online, the Library is not able to provide access to specially protected holdings or process large review-on-demand requests at this time.
- Upon completion of research, Ford Library staff will inspect each researcher’s personal property for record material. This includes laptops, scanners, and other equipment where record material could be mistakenly placed. To ensure Ford Library staff and researchers maintain appropriate social distance, this will be accomplished as follows:
- Researchers will place equipment and materials to be inspected on their assigned table in plain view, for visual inspection. After placing the equipment on the table, they will step back to comply with social distancing requirements.
- Ford Library staff will inspect the equipment/material, wearing disposable gloves.
- Upon completion of the inspection, sanitizing wipes will be made available to researchers for use in wiping down their equipment and space.
- Ford Library staff will immediately inspect the table or cart where the inspection took place and ensure that used paper towels, wipes, gloves, etc. are properly discarded.
Last Updated: September 30, 2022