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ARTH 106: Rare Books for Architect and History

Restrictions & Rules

Absolutely no food or drink is allowed when viewing our special collections.

Laptop computers, small cameras, pencils, secondary material, and reference books may be brought into the rare book room or Image Collection. Pencils and paper for notes will be available. All other items, such as pens, highlighters, markers, tripods, and flatbed or hand scanners are not allowed.

Flash photography is prohibited. All items being brought into the rare book room or Image Collection will be inspected before you enter and again as you leave. 

All cell phones should be left on silent mode. We ask that patrons refrain from talking on cell phones while they are in the reading room.

The Fisher Fine Arts Library's rare books room, formally called the Perkins Rare Books Library, is a collection of monuments of architectural publishing.  It is located on the main level of the Fine Arts Library and holds approximately three thousand rare books as well as drawings and historic maps. The foundation of the collection is the single great book of Vitruvius Pollio (ca. 90-20 B.C.E.) together with works by the five figures from the Renaissance period: Alberti, Scamozzi, Serlio, Vignola, and Palladio.  The original collection was established in 1965 by G. Holmes Perkins who served as Dean of Penn's Graduate School of Fine Arts (as it was known then) from 1951 to 1971. 

Rare Book Room Guide

For more information on the room, the history of the collection, how to request to view rare books, and how to handle them see our guide

Handling Rare Books

When using the collections in the Perkins Rare Book Room, please:

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before touching the book.  Even if your hands are clean, they have oils that can soil the pages.
  • Use the cradles available in the reading room. If the size of the book is not conducive to use of a cradle, be sure to keep the books flat on a level surface, even if it is possible to hold it in your hands.
  • Use only pencil for writing notes in your notebook.
  • Take great care in turning pages - do not thumb through them as you would a regular text.
  • Do not point in the text with any implement, only your finger.

For further instruction, watch the University of Glasgow Archive Services and Special Collections department's video on how to handle bound volumes or speak with one of our librarians.