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FLEET LIBRARY | Research Guides

Rhode Island School of Design

About Appointments and Open Hours: Special Collections

COVID-19 Access

We are all responsible for the health and safety of our community and ourselves. Our guidelines below are developed to provide services with care for all.  We expect these guidelines may change as government agencies and RISD issue additional directives.  All services are contingent upon staffing being available.

By appointment only (no drop-ins).

We are offering in-person and virtual appointments.

In-person appointments:

  • In-person appointments are only available to the RISD community.  
  • Masks are required and social distancing will be enforced.  
  • In-person visits are limited to one person at a time.  
  • For in-person appointments hands must be washed before handling materials.
  • Materials will be provided contact free.
  • Materials will be quarantined before being reshelved.

For both in-person and virtual appointment up to five items can be pulled per appointment and must be done prior to the appointment.  We currently can not offer additional item pulls during appointments. 


Students, faculty, and researchers outside of RISD come to Special Collections with a wide range of inquiries. Schedule an appointment here with your research question. Visit us during open hours to request up to two items by call number or title or view our rotating weekly selections.

Ask us for a specific item or general topic. If you are searching RISD Library’s online catalog and have seen call number location prefixes: SPECIAL or ARTISTS' BOOKS or ARCHIVES, you may have specific items in mind. We also welcome general research inquiries. When you are scheduling your appointment, let us know about the subject matter you are researching or a few keywords related to your curiosities, and we will mine the collections.

General Information

How to identify materials in Special Collections:

All materials are in the RISD Library online catalog  and distinguished by call number location prefixes: SPECIAL or ARTISTS'.


Open hours for 1 to 2 items are 3-4:30 pm Monday, Wednesday-Friday (except when a class visit is scheduled).  For more in depth assistance, please make an appointment.

Food and drink are not allowed in the Reading Room.

Please wash your hands (sink across the hall from the Reading Room as well as bathrooms before the double doors on the 2nd floor).

All bags and coats must be hung up on the coat rack or put in the corner by the coat rack in the Reading Room.

Sketching and Note-taking:

Allowed: pencils, sketchbooks, notebooks, paper, laptops, tablets, phones.

Not allowed: pens, markers, colored pencils, charcoal, paint, ink, etc.

Duplication Options:

All duplication requests for scanning and photocopies are subject to copyright fair use restrictions and condition of the materials. Readers may take digital photographs, with permission.