Read through the information below and then select the "Create an Account" button at the bottom of the page.

Account Registration

  • A reader account is required to submit an application to become a reader at the Folger Shakespeare Library, or to register as a current reader, including if you have been accepted to an academic program. This account can then be used to request vault material.

For current readers and reader applicants

You do not need to create a separate image request account if you already have a reader account. If you already have an image request account but you want to apply to become a reader, you will need to create a new Aeon account. Your existing image request account will then merge with your reader account.

Currently registered readers at the Folger Shakespeare Library must create an online request account. There is no need to resubmit letters of recommendation. If you are unsure whether or not you are a currently registered reader, please contact

For academic program and conference participants

Participants in seminars, symposia, and workshops sponsored by the Folger Institute as well as participants in the Teaching Shakespeare Institute need to create a Folger Aeon account as soon as they are accepted into the Folger program. Select the button at the bottom of this page to "Create an Account", and then select "Academic program participant" in the "Registration Type" dropdown. A separate reader application is not needed.

If you are participating in a conference held at the Folger and would like to use the reading room, you will need to apply through Aeon as either a regular or special permission reader depending on your academic qualifications.

Become a Reader

The Folger Shakespeare Library welcomes researchers (or, as we call them, readers) from across the United States and around the world. To apply for reading privileges, please determine whether you qualify as a regular or a special-permission reader and submit your application materials as instructed. All applicants must show a current institutional or government-issued photo I.D. on arrival.

Regular Readers

Regular readers are academics, librarians, curators, and Folger docents.

These people are eligible for regular reader privileges:

  • Full-time faculty from colleges and universities who are working in a field supported by Folger collections.
  • PhDs and PhD candidates who have successfully completed qualifying exams working in a field of study supported by Folger collections.
  • Librarians and curators from research institutions.
  • Folger docents (if they do not fall under any of the categories above) who have completed 1000 hours or ten years of consecutive service.

To apply: Fill out the Reader Registration form on the following page and submit one letter of reference from a professional colleague that verifies your qualifications. All letters must be from an institutional email address or on preprinted letterhead signed by the referee. Please email references to

Once you have received reader status, you will be prompted to update your contact information annually.

Special-permission Readers

Special-permission readers are students, educators, theater professionals, and other individuals who have a need to access the Folger collections.

The length of special-permission reading privileges is determined on a case-by-case basis. Special-permission readers can apply to have their privileges renewed by submitting a new application (including letters of reference) to the registrar.

These people are eligible for a special-permission reader card:

  • Graduate students at any stage before completing qualifying exams who have a research project that requires access to Folger collections.
  • Undergraduates at the junior or senior level who are working on a project for which the Folger provides unique resources.
  • Other scholars or individuals, such as artists, actors, booksellers, professional theater staff, teachers, and writers for whom Folger collections are critical for study, preparation, or production.

To apply: Fill out the Reader Registration form on the following page and supply two letters of reference that verify your academic qualifications and the relevance of the Folger collection to your research. If you are an undergraduate or a graduate student, one letter must be from your advisor. All letters must be from an institutional email address or on preprinted letterhead signed by the referee. Please email references to

Once you have received special-permission reader status, you will be prompted to update your contact information and project information after 90 days.

Data collection and security

The Folger is committed to protecting the confidentiality of your library request records. The Folger may retain indefinitely information collected from your online Aeon Request Account, including registration, circulation, duplication and publishing requests, as well as related correspondence. We may use this information for administration and maintenance of collections or library operations. Read our full privacy policy for more information.

Reading Room photography policy


The Folger Shakespeare Library allows researchers to use their personal cameras in the Reading Room. We prohibit the use of flash photography, additional lighting, scanners, tripods, templates, or other equipment. Camera shutter sounds should always be silenced.

Handling Materials

Materials must remain flat on the desk or safely in the cradle provided. Researchers may not push on bindings, stand on furniture, or disrupt fellow researchers to obtain a shot. Items encased in mylar should not be removed from their housing. The Folger Shakespeare Library reserves the right to prohibit photography of any of its collection materials.


Photography of other researchers or library staff is prohibited.

Copyright and Permissions

Researchers should credit themselves as the creator of digital images taken with a personal camera in the Reading Room. The preferred citation format is: [Author], [Item title and date]. [Call number, signature/folio/page/other identifier, if applicable], Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC. Photographed by [your name here].

Researchers are responsible for determining if the material is in the public domain or whether the intended use is within the limits of fair use.

For materials in the public domain, the researcher holds the only rights to the image and therefore does not need any permission from the Folger Shakespeare Library to use the image.

If copyright law or other restrictions protect material being used, researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from any rights holders to use the image. The Folger shall not be responsible or liable for any claim of infringement or damage that may occur due to the use of any material that the Folger makes available.

For materials in the public domain, social media sharing of personal digital photographs is encouraged. Images should mention the Folger or use the hashtag #FolgerFinds.

Personal digital photographs may not be adequate for some online or print publication uses. For information on obtaining high-resolution digital files, consult our digital image database or order images here. There are service costs associated with fulfilling requests for high-resolution digital files.

Folger Shakespeare Library complimentary Wi-Fi network

Please read the following before signing your agreement at the bottom. You will be provided with the SSID, username, and password for the Wi-Fi network when you arrive at the Folger.


By selecting the "Create an Account" button, you are entering into a binding agreement. This agreement persists until revised at the discretion of The Library.

Accessing the Folger Public Network from Your Wireless Device

Folger Shakespeare Library (hereafter "The Library") provides Internet access points at no charge in selected areas for guests. You will be able to access the Internet from your wireless device when sitting within range of an access point. Guests are expected to use the wireless access in a legal and responsible manner. By using this wireless access network, the user acknowledges that he/she is subject to, and agrees to abide by all laws, and all District and federal rules and regulations applicable to Internet use.

Terms and Conditions of Use

Guests will provide their own computer, tablet, or other device equipped to support the Wi-Fi standard. The Library assumes no responsibility for the safety of hardware, software, or data. The Library reserves the right to block access to the Wi-Fi network at any time at its discretion and cannot guarantee speed of access or uninterrupted service.

Security Considerations

Wireless access is by nature an insecure medium. As with most guest wireless networks, any information being sent or received over the wireless network could potentially be intercepted by another wireless user. Cautious and informed wireless users should not transmit their credit card information, passwords, and any other sensitive personal information while using a wireless "hot spot".

Anyone using the Folger wireless network is forewarned that there can be no expectation of privacy when using the wireless network. Users assume all associated risks and agree to hold harmless The Library and its employees for any personal information (e.g. credit card) that is compromised, or for any damage caused to users' hardware or software due to electric surges, security issues or consequences caused by viruses or hacking.

All wireless access users should have up-to-date virus protection on their personal laptop computers or wireless devices, as well as staying up-to-date with applicable operating system and software security patches.


Folger Shakespeare Library is providing wireless connectivity in this facility as a guest service and offers no guarantees that any use of the wireless connection is in any way secure, or that any privacy can be protected when using this wireless connection. Use of this wireless connection is entirely at the risk of the user, and the Folger is not responsible for any loss of any information that may arise from the use of the wireless connection, or for any loss, injury, or damages resulting from the use of the wireless connection.

Connectivity speeds and reliability may vary depending on institutional priorities.

By pressing this button you acknowledge and agree to all of the terms and conditions above. After reading this information, you can press the "Create an Account" button to continue.