Contact the NJ State Archives
Mailing Address:
NJ State Archives
P.O. Box 307
Trenton, NJ 08625-0307

Office Address:
225 West State Street - 2nd Floor
Trenton, NJ

Contact Information

Email: Feedback@sos.nj.gov

Reopening the New Jersey State Archives

At the New Jersey State Archives, we will always strive to provide you with the best possible service in the safest manner in the context of current onsite staffing parameters and public health requirements. Starting July 20, 2021, the State Archives will reopen to research in our Microfilm and Manuscript Reading Rooms by appointment. Outlined below are measures taken and procedures in place to prevent the spread of COVID, and our policy for scheduling appointments.

Measures to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 – Physical Environment
Daily Logistics and Rules for Researchers
Overview of Appointments Calendar
Scheduling Policy

Measures to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19 - Physical Environment

In accordance with state and federal guidelines, the following measures have been taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the New Jersey State Archives:

• Plexiglass barriers have been installed at the reception desk and Microfilm Reading Room reference desk.

• Placards regarding distancing rules and hygiene guidelines have been posted throughout the building.

• Floors in elevator and waiting areas have been marked to delineate 6-foot distances.

• Hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the building.

• Elevator and restroom capacities may be limited.

• Patron workstations in the Microfilm Reading Room have been distanced from each other and separated using systems furniture to create large carrels. Sanitary wipe dispensers have been placed in each workstation. Additional printers have been installed in this area.

Daily Logistics and Rules for Researchers

The following logistical measures and rules for researchers will be implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the New Jersey State Archives and to save time for researchers:

• Staff will pre-register patrons when appointments are made. To make an appointment, please call 609-984-2396 during our normal business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. We will not be able to return calls or confirm appointments outside of business hours.

• Each day, building security will be provided with a list of researchers registered for appointment times. Archives staff will escort patrons from the main lobby to the Archives’ research areas.

• Staff will provide patrons visiting the State Archives for the first time after the public reopening with a brief re-orientation.

• Staff will register patrons in our daily visitor register directly so that patrons do not have to use the same book and pen.

• All staff and patrons will maintain a 6-foot distance from each other (except that two patrons visiting together and using a single workstation will not be required to do this).

• At this time, the State of New Jersey requires that both the public and staff wear masks in all public State facilities, regardless of vaccination status.

• All staff, contractors, and patrons will complete the health questionnaire posted publicly prior into entering the building, and will proceed only if cleared for entrance.

• All staff, contractors, and patrons will have their temperature checked upon entrance to the building. Individuals showing signs of fever will not be granted access to the facility.

• In the Microfilm Reading Room, patrons will use the sanitary wipes provided to clean touched surfaces on the equipment and in the workstation they are assigned to, both prior to and after use.

• In the Microfilm Reading Room, patrons will make their own microfilm and book copies.

• Manuscript Reading Room users will be asked to identify the materials they would like to use at the time of making their appointment and/or in advance of their visit to the extent possible, so that materials can be ready for them during the appointment. Because of limited staff onsite at this time, we cannot guarantee immediate access to materials not requested in advance, especially if they are stored offsite.

• Manuscript Reading Room users will be assigned a specific work area (table), but will not be required to wipe it down before and after use since there will be a 48-hour or greater quarantine period transpiring between the use of research tables on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons.

• Staff will make copies of all materials in the Manuscript Reading Room. We may hold copy requests for a quarantine period, with copies or scans subsequently sent out by mail or email, or picked up by the patron.

• No more than two co-researchers may share a single appointment/research workstation in either reading room.

• Access to public computers will be limited to one patron or co-researching pair per research area to ensure social distancing.

• The above rules will be incorporated into the existing researcher rules, agreed to by signature by each registered patron.

• Walk-in patrons without an appointment reservation may be turned away if the State Archives research areas are at capacity, i.e., if all current appointments or appointments later that day are reserved. In such case, the patron will be asked to reserve an appointment on another date.

Overview of Appointments Calendar

The New Jersey State Archives will reopen to the public for research by appointment starting July 20, 2021. Three-hour appointment times are as follows:

Microfilm Reading Room (for up to 6 researchers or pairs of co-researchers at a time):

• Tuesday afternoons, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• Wednesday mornings, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
• Wednesday afternoons, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• Thursday mornings, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Manuscript Reading Room (for up to 3 researchers or pairs of co-researchers at a time):

• Tuesday mornings, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
• Thursday afternoons, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Researchers or co-researching pairs are initially limited to one (1) appointment per scheduling block in each research area. The first two weeks will be considered a single scheduling block; and the third and fourth week together will be considered a single scheduling block. Subsequently, each week will be its own scheduling block. For further explanation, see the scheduling policy below. From July 20 through September 9, 2021, appointments will be available on the days shown below. We will expand appointment times if possible:

Scheduling Policy

Scheduling Policy (pdf version)

To make an appointment, please call 609-984-2396 during our normal business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. We will not be able to return calls or confirm appointments outside of business hours.

This policy is intended and designed to ensure that:

• Foremost, a maximum number of researchers will have access to the New Jersey State Archives facility and immediate, urgent demand will be met to the extent possible; and

• Secondly, the public will be able to make the fullest use of the facility in the context of current staffing limitations, administrative requirements, and public health guidelines.

General:

• The first two weeks will be considered a single scheduling block. The third and fourth weeks together will be considered a single scheduling block. After this (i.e., starting with the fifth week), each week will be its own scheduling block.

• Sign-up for 3-hour appointments will be on a first-come-first-served basis. A patron may only reserve an appointment for themself and one other co-researcher at a single researcher workstation (microfilm carrel or manuscript table). The appointment will be considered as being under the name and contact information of the caller.

• The appointment maker will receive an email confirming the appointment.

• Appointments are not transferrable to another party.

• Unless there are vacant appointments (see below), patrons shall be limited to reserve one (1) appointment in the Microfilm Reading Room per scheduling block and one (1) appointment in the Manuscript Reading Room per scheduling block.

• Prior to and during the first block, patrons may reserve one appointment in each of the research areas during that first block and one appointment in each of the research areas during the second block. Going forward, appointments can be reserved only during the block immediately preceding or during the block itself. This will ensure that the facility is accessible to as many patrons as possible during this initial opening period.

• We cannot guarantee that a patron will be able to schedule appointments in both research areas on the same day. We will accommodate such requests if possible.

Waiting Lists for Vacant Appointments:

• We will maintain a “Priority 1 Waiting List” for patrons who were not able to reserve an appointment during the block and research area they wanted, and a “Priority 2 Waiting List” for patrons who were able to reserve an appointment in the block and research area they wanted but would like an additional appointment in that block and research area if possible. These lists will be created and maintained in order on a first-come-first-served basis.

• If an appointment remains unreserved as of the day before that appointment time (or as late as the morning of an unreserved afternoon appointment, or in the case of cancellation), designated staff will call patrons on the Priority 1 Waiting List first to see if the patron would like to reserve the available appointment. If we are not able to reach the person directly when we call, we will leave a message if possible, asking for a call back. However, we will also move on to the next person on the list immediately and offer the appointment to them. A call/message does not guarantee an appointment for the patron if we cannot reach them when we call.

• Once a patron on the Priority 1 Waiting List reserves an appointment within a block and research area, they will be removed from the Priority 1 Waiting List. The patron can request to be added to the Priority 2 Waiting List (for an additional appointment) if they desire. Patrons will not be removed from the Priority 1 Waiting List if they could not be contacted directly (i.e., did not answer our call), or if the available appointment did not work for them but they still want another appointment if one becomes available during that block and research area.

• Patrons on the Priority 2 Waiting List will be contacted in the same manner as outlined above ONLY AFTER all patrons on the Priority 1 Waiting List have been called.

• No patron will be given a second appointment in a block/research area unless all others on the Priority 1 Waiting Lists have been afforded an opportunity (i.e., at least called) to reserve an available appointment as their first appointment in that block/research area. No patron will be given a third appointment in a block/research area unless all others on the waiting lists have been afforded an opportunity to reserve an available appointment as their second appointment in that block/research area. And so on.

• If a patron cancels an appointment, they can request to be put on or to remain on the Priority 2 Waiting List, but will be put at the end of the list.

• We will not call patrons on the waiting lists to fill unreserved appointments during the current time slot, e.g., in the case of a last-minute cancellation.

Walk-Ins:

• Walk-in patrons who have not reserved an appointment will be accommodated on a first-come-first-served basis ONLY if the current appointment time, or a later appointment time that day, is available. Otherwise, the patron will be turned away and asked to schedule an appointment for another day. We are not at liberty to exceed the capacity established above.