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Policies and Procedures

Collection Policy Statement

The primary focus of Alabama State University Archives is to, identify and acquire, organize and preserve, collections, particularly primary source materials that document the history and the internal operations of Alabama State University. The Archives prioritizes the collection of material that shed light on how the school influenced African Americans in Montgomery, in Alabama, around the southeast, and throughout the nation. It is also the goal of the Archives to develop and catalog materials that will preserve and make accessible for study, resources relating to the people, aims, strategies, and achievements, of the modern civil rights movement, paying particular attention to those areas where civil rights activism intersects the history of Alabama State University, and in those instances where material connect the local movement to wider civil rights initiatives. Finally, the Alabama State University Archives will collect materials that reflect the cultural expressions of African Americans, particularly the people of Alabama. However, the Archives will also consider other material that may not clearly match the aforementioned criteria on a case by case basis.

The impetus to establish a school for Alabama’s African-American population began shortly after the Civil War. In 1867, African-American leaders founded Lincoln Normal School in Marion. In 1870, the State provided its initial support of $486, and the school became the State Normal School and University for Colored Teachers and Students. Over the years, the school reorganized and moved to Montgomery, offering its first classes in the new location with expanded state funding on October 3, 1887. After several role expansions and name changes, it became Alabama State University in 1969. As a direct descendent of the Lincoln Normal School, it is the one of the nation’s oldest institutions of higher education.

Alabama State made a major contribution to America’s citizens through the involvement of its employees and students in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This protest set the stage for the modern civil rights movement by successfully coupling non-violent civil disobedience with anti-discrimination litigation. The Montgomery Bus Boycott also catapulted Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy along with a host of other local activists onto the national stage and it also awakened the nation to the denial of Civil Rights for a major part of the population. Alabama State students, faculty, and staff, were also central in the Sit-in movement, the freedom rides, the Selma to Montgomery March, and countless other civil rights activities.

The University Library has always collected materials to document the African-American experience, and in recent years has aggressively sought to preserve materials documenting the Civil Rights Movement. Through its efforts, Alabama State created the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights. The Center collects textual documents, photographs as well as artifacts. In addition, it sponsors symposia and produces both audio and video tapes for documenting the stories of the Civil Rights Movement leaders.

Rules & Regulations for Use of Archival Materials

The University Archival staff will attempt to answer general reference questions about the collections and the history of Alabama State University. Questions requiring extensive research may be beyond the scope of this service.

Before using the material, users must familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations governing Alabama State University Archives.

  1. We ask researchers to contact the Alabama State University Archivist prior to their anticipated arrival. This will allow the archivist to determine what collections are needed, assure that they will be available, and explain any restrictions which might apply. (334) 229-4491 or e-mail hrobinson@alasu.edu  
  2. First time archive users must present a valid driver's license or photographic I.D. and must complete a Research Application. (Form A) A new Research Application Form must be completed once each academic year. (October 1 to September 30) Researchers are requested to sign the register once daily during every research visit.
  3. No food or drinks are allowed in the area. Smoking is also prohibited.
  4. All book bags, briefcases, large purses, outerwear, and other large items must be left in the lockers at the entrance of the Special Collections area.
  5. Portable computers, typewriters, tape recorders & cameras, including cell phone cameras cannot be used unless permission is granted.
  6. Archival materials do not circulate but can be placed on Reserve after meeting with the Archivist.
  7. Selected archival materials cannot be sent through interlibrary loan.
  8. Restricted items & unprocessed collections may be accessed only with the permission of the archivist and the Dean of the Library.
  9. Researchers are limited to one box at a time and can remove only one folder at a time.
  10. The use of pens is prohibited, but pencils are permitted.
  11. Documents should be maintained in the order found. If you feel something is misplaced or missing, please consult with the archivist.
  12. Handle documents carefully. Do not lean on, write on, make any marks on or write over documents. Do not fold, trace, fasten with paper clips, or handle material in any way likely to damage it. Do not use post-it markers. To mark places in folders or books ask the archivist to provide paper strips.
  13. If it is necessary to leave the Reading Room temporarily, arrange with the archivist either to reserve the materials for your return or leave the materials on your table. Replace all materials having containers into their proper place, close all containers and volumes, and notify the archivist immediately upon your return to resume use of the materials.
  14. Researchers suspected of theft or vandalism may be subject to search and prosecution in accordance with the laws of the State of Alabama.

Photocopying Services


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, library and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproductions. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research. If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

  1. Researchers must have permission to photocopy archival materials or photographs.
  2. Patrons must fill out a photocopy request form before photocopying any material. The cost of copying is .10 cents per page.
  3. The Archives also reserves the right to refuse a reproduction request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would involve violation of copyright law, legal restrictions, or if doing so will damage the original or violate donor agreements.
  4. The Alabama State University Archives reserves the right to limit the volume of duplication; in addition, the Archives will not reproduce an entire collection unless the researcher obtains the written permission of the writer, donor, depositor, literary heir, or Alabama State University Archives in compliance with the U.S. Copyright laws.
  5. Scanned items sent as e-mail attachments are billed at $1.00 per page.
  6. The copying of musical works is prohibited according to copyright law.
  7. Citations for the Archives should conform to the following format:

    “Name of collection,” Courtesy of Alabama State University Archives.

Please note: Payment for all services must be by check or money order, made payable to Alabama State University. We regret that we cannot accept payment via credit card.

Research (By mail/e-mail or phone):

A $20.00 minimum reference service fee is required on all requests that are more than a ready reference request. This covers up to one hour of staff time and up to 10 pages of photocopied material. If deemed necessary, postage charges may be added to the total fee. Additional copies cost $1.00 each. Referral may be made for additional research if required.


Photographs may also be scanned and digital images delivered by e-mail or on disk through U.S. Postal Service. Available formats for digital images include .jpg, .tif, .gif, and others. Please contact the Alabama State University Archivist for digital imaging fees.

Reproduction of audio or visual tapes

Reproductions will be done on a case-by-case basis. This determination will be based on preservation issues, donor restrictions or copyright restrictions imposed upon the item. When copy negatives must be made, they become the property of the Archives. Original materials from the Archives' collections will not be lent to researchers.

Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast:

  1. The Archives at Alabama State University claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections material. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright. The recipient agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Archives at Alabama State University its officers, employees and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions and expenses arising out of the use of reproductions provided by the Archives.
  2. If you wish to use either published or unpublished materials from our collections in a publication, you must determine whether the work has passed into public domain and is no longer under copyright protection or find the copyright holders and get permission to use the material. It should be clearly understood that the supplying of copies of manuscripts and the giving of permission to publish by the Alabama State University Archives is not to be construed as a transfer of literary rights.
  3. Permission to publish, exhibit or broadcast materials owned or held by Alabama State University Archives must be requested and granted in writing. The Archives at Alabama State University reserves the right to refuse permission to individuals and publishers who have not complied with its policies. The Alabama State University Archives requests a copy of any publication that arises from material housed and used in the Archives, and requires credit given upon publication:

    “Courtesy of Alabama State University Archives.”

Mail to:
Alabama State University Archives / Special Collections
Levi Watkins Learning Resource Center
Alabama State University
915 South Jackson Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36104

Permission to Publish Forms

Click on a thumbnail to the left to view the documents, or right click and select "Save as..." to download the form for printing.

Conditions for permission to publish or exhibit photos

  1. Credit must be given to Alabama State University