Johns Hopkins Phase I Re-opening Plan for Archives and Special Collections

On July 6, 2020, Johns Hopkins archives and special collections will begin offering limited access to Johns Hopkins faculty and graduate students. Access options for Johns Hopkins undergraduates, faculty, and students from other educational institutions, will be designated for later dates in the phased Johns Hopkins re-opening plan. Protecting the health and safety of staff and researchers is paramount in plans for every phase of the re-opening process.

We expect that guidelines for archives and special collections may change during the course of the summer as government agencies and the University issue additional directives. All services are contingent upon the availability of staffing.

Phase I Access to the Historical Collection of the Institute of the History of Medicine


Welch Library Building, third floor
1900 East Monument Street
East Baltimore Campus

Scheduling your Visit

For the safety of our staff and researchers, no more than 1 researcher will be allowed in the Rare Book Room at a time, and researchers and staff will be required to wear masks/cloth face coverings at all times.

Appointments will be required during this initial reopening phase

Appointments must be made with at least 3 business days in advance.

Do not travel to the library if you have not had a confirmation email from us. If you are not feeling well, please respect everyone’s safety and email our staff to cancel or reschedule your appointment.

How to make an appointment

Please contact the Curator, Michael Seminara <> for an appointment at least 3 business days in advance. In your email, please include the author/title/imprint and call number of the rare or pre-1860 books, or description of other material you wish to see, in the order you would like to view them. Please include your phone number. Only 3 volumes or 1 box will be made available to you at a time (with some exceptions for multi-volumes works). Please also indicate the potential days and times of your visit. You will receive an email confirming your appointment date/time and your requests. We will also ask you to confirm you are feeling well, and are not exhibiting any symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Do not travel to the library if you have not had a confirmation email from us. If you are not feeling well, please respect everyone’s safety and email our staff to cancel or reschedule your appointment.

The reading room staff will have the materials ready for your visit. Please plan on bringing your own laptop or tablet to avoid use of public computers.

The day of your visit

Admission to the Welch Library Building will be explained in your visit confirmation email.

Please bring your own water supply, no water fountains will be available in the building.

Researchers may bring only silenced cell phones, digital cameras, wallets, pencils, and laptops or tablets without cases into the reading room. Power cords and headphones for electronic equipment are permitted, as are rulers and magnifying glasses. All other materials will be stored for you.

For your safety and that of others

Health status – When scheduling an appointment and during your visit, please keep staff informed if you have a fever or other signs of illness.

Masks/face coverings – The Johns Hopkins University requires that masks/face coverings be worn on campus and throughout all buildings at all times. If you are not wearing a mask/face covering entry will be denied.

Hand sanitizing – All visitors, staff, and researchers are required to use hand sanitizers posted at the entrance of the third floor. Soap and water options will also be required and available.

Safe social distancing – All visitors, staff, and researchers are required to maintain a safe social distance of 6 feet throughout the Welch Library Building.

In the Reading Room

To assist in social distancing, you will be assigned a seat that is distanced from the staff and other researchers. Please observe the restrictions indicating safer distances.

Shared surfaces are disinfected after each researcher. Materials have not been disinfected but will have been quarantined. Please wash your hands before entering the Rare book Room. If you have used hand sanitizer, please thoroughly dry your hands so damaging residue is not transferred to the materials. Researchers will not wear gloves in the Rare Book, unless handling artifacts.

While in the reading room, you will have access to one box or up to 3 volumes on your table at one time. Let staff know when you are finished, and they will remove the box/book(s) and set up any additional material you have requested.

Please contact us if you have questions or need additional information at