Reading Room Rules

The World Bank Group Archives preserves permanently valuable historical records and makes them available for research in the Archives’ reading room under close supervision by Archives staff. The procedures outlined below are intended to protect the integrity of these important research resources.

Before your Visit

  • Prior to your first visit to the Archives you must complete an Access to Information Request Form available from the Access to Information website. You will be asked to describe your research project.

  • All research is by appointment only. The reading room hours are from 10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. of every business day.

Personal Belongings

  • Secure storage is provided just outside the reading room to store books, papers, pens, newspapers, bags, briefcases, computer cases, coats, and umbrellas.

  • Pencils and notepaper are provided for your use. Accidental marking of the records by pencil can be more easily removed. Ink, marker pens, typewriter correction fluid, and post-it notes may not be used in the reading room.

  • You may use a personal computer in the reading room; electrical outlets are available. The carrying case for a personal computer must be left in the storage cabinet outside the reading room.

  • Please bring into the reading room only a minimal amount of personal papers, notes, and other items. The reading room staff may ask you to remove personal items if it appears that they interfere with the operation of the research area.

  • No food, drink, gum, candy, or sticky fingers. Don’t bring anything into the reading room with the potential to stain or stick to paper or attract insects and rodents. White gloves are available for viewing photographs, as even clean hands will leave traces of oil. Smoking is prohibited on World Bank premises.

  • Record your attendance in the reading room. You must sign in and out on the visitors’ log each day you use the reading room. Each time that you leave the reading room, you must sign in and out as well.


  • Photographic equipment may be used with prior notice. The camera must utilize the ambient light (no floodlights permitted). Tripods are permitted if they do not take up excessive space.

  • Personal copiers and electronic scanners are not permitted

Handling the Records

  • You will be asked to sign for the records delivered to you. The items issued are logged electronically to provide an audit trail in the event of damage or loss of records.

  • Please handle with care. Minimize damage to the records by turning pages slowly and carefully.

  • You may have only one container of records on the desk at a time. When you remove a file from a box of records, mark its place with the place cards available for this purpose.

  • Original records must remain on the desk and separate from your notes.

  • Do not place objects, including paper clips and sticky notes, in or on the records. If you wish to mark your place to indicate records to be photocopied or those you want to refer to again, use the paper tabs provided to you. Do not lean on or trace over the records. Do not use a pencil as a pointer and do not make marks of any kind on the records.

  • Do not rearrange or remove papers from file fasteners. If you suspect that material has been wrongly filed bring this to the attention of the Archivist – do not attempt to remedy this yourself.

  • Return records to their containers when you leave the reading room.

  • When departing at the end of the day, please inform the Archives’ staff whether you have finished with the records. If you want to use them within the next five workdays, we will hold the records for you.

Conditions of Access

  • The records are solely for research purposes. You may make non-commercial use of the information. You may not, however, use the information for any commercial purposes, including without limitation reselling them, charging to access them, charging to redistribute them, or charging for derivative works based on them. The foregoing license is conditioned upon your providing proper attribution to The World Bank and its content providers. The World Bank authorizes the use of this material subject to the terms and conditions on its website.

The World Bank Group Archives reserves the right to revoke the research privileges of any person who does not abide by the reading room rules stated above.