Reading Room Procedures

The Reading Room will be closed for a class on Wednesday, February 28th from 1:30-4PM.

On this page: Overview | When You Visit | Retrievals

The UTARMS Reading Room is open Tuesday to Friday, 9am-4:45pm. The Reading Room is closed on Mondays.

Researchers are welcome to visit us to begin their research anytime the Reading Room is open, or they can begin with an inquiry by accessing our services virtually or via telephone;

Staff can help determine if materials need to be pulled in advance of your visit as some material is held offsite. We may be limited in our ability to retrieve additional items the day of your visit.

When You Visit

UTARMS is dedicated to making the research experience as rewarding and productive as possible for all readers. We ask you to cooperate with us to preserve the Archives’ collections for posterity by observing the following protocols:

  1. Please leave all outer wear, bags, binders, and folders in the lockers at the second floor entrance. You will be provided with a key to the locker; lockers must be emptied at the end of each day.
  2. Clear plastic bags are available to carry items such as proof of identity, laptops, tablets, and writing materials into the Reading Room; personal effects taken into the Reading Room, including notebooks and binders, will be inspected as readers exit the Library.
  3. Readers are required to register on their first visit to the Archives. Valid ID, such as a current University of Toronto card, a driver’s license, or other ID with a photograph, must be provided before a reader’s card can be issued. The card is valid for one year, and is required for the daily sign-in sheet and to request records.
  4. Food and beverages are not permitted anywhere in the Reading Room.

Researchers can access the Archives via the stairs at the corner of St. George & Harbord Streets. Enter the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library from the side entrance at the top of the stairs on the left (not the revolving doors).

Stairs from St. George Street to the Fisher Library external door

Accessible entrance (no stairs):

  • Enter Robarts Library from the street-level St. George Street entrance and scan T-Card at the screening checkpoint (U of T students, staff and faculty), or inform staff that you have an appointment at the Archives (external/non-UofT Researchers).
  • Keep right, and continue straight pass the Information Commons computers and then take the escalators or elevators to get to the 2nd floor.
  • From the elevators: exit the elevator, go through the gates and turn left towards the other set of gates. Once through the second set of gates, turn right and proceed towards the Fisher Library. To the right of the steps, there is a ramp.
  • From the escalators: proceed through the gates, turn right, and proceed towards the Fisher Library. To the right of the steps, there is a ramp.
  • Please let us know if you would prefer to have a UTARMS staff member meet you at the street-level entrance of Robarts Library and accompany you to the Fisher Library.
Fisher Entrance
Fisher Library entrance from inside of Robarts Library (2nd floor)
Robarts Ramp
Ramp next to steps on the 2nd floor of Robarts Library


Records are non-circulating and must be consulted in our reading room.  An attendant is always on duty to assist you in finding sources and requesting materials. Retrievals are on demand and the last retrieval is at 4:15 p.m.  Some records are stored off-site and may take 1-2 days to retrieve. Listening to sound recordings or viewing film or video requires specialized equipment.  An appointment may be needed to consult these records.

Visiting the Reading Room does not require an appointment. However, researchers are encouraged to contact us prior to their visit. This allows staff to evaluate each researcher’s needs and ensure that the requested material is available for when the researcher arrives.