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Reading Room Access and Research Services for AIC Staff: Reading Room Hours

Information on Using the Libraries and Archives for Art Institute of Chicago Staff

Reading Room Hours


The Research Center’s Franke Reading Room is a shared space in which researchers can consult the collections of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives. The reading room is open to all Art Institute of Chicago staff to pick up requested circulating materials, work with the open shelf reference collection or items on staff reserve, consult reference librarians, use scanning equipment, and return materials during the following hours: Mondays through Fridays: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

We invite our museum colleagues to use the Franke Reading Room as a space for focused reading and writing projects away from the bustle of the curatorial offices. The front doors (next to the Grand Staircase) are always unlocked on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If the front doors are locked, please use the staff entrance to the Research Center in the Photo & Media gallery 10 downstairs (next to the Thorne Rooms).



In order to use the Libraries click-and-collect book retrieval system or make appointments to view special collections materials, new users must attend an orientation. Library orientations are offered at 11:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. Please complete this form to request a G-Cal invitation.



Special collections items, accessioned items, and archives do not circulate outside the reading room. Museum staff may make research appointments to view restricted materials on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (for staff exclusively), and Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (staff and public appointments). More information is available here.

Request a Library special collections appointment here:   Make a Library Appointment

Archival research appointments for museum staff are available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (for staff exclusively), and Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. (staff and public appointments). To request an Archives research appointment, please complete this form.



Art Institute of Chicago staff who have completed the library orientation may be escorted by a library staff member to visit the library's onsite, general collection stacks for the purpose of searching and browsing. Ask 

Research Center Resources

Research Center Resources

Online catalogs and databases maintained by the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries and the Art Institute of Chicago Archives:

Make requests for materials that are not owned by the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries:

Find library information:

Digital Resources from the Art Institute of Chicago

Digital Resources from the Art Institute of Chicago

  • Ryerson & Burnham Art and Architecture Archives: Digital Collections
  • Finding Aids: Finding aids are inventories or indices that describe the contents of an archival collection and are the primary method of accessing information about any given group of records.
  • Images and Media: Catalog of electronic surrogates of selected original archival materials from the Archives collections, including photographs, slides, architectural drawings and prints, correspondence, and printed papers.
  • Oral Histories: Browse over 250 artists and architect oral histories.

A list of online guides and bibliographies developed by librarians to assist research on a variety of art historical and architectural topics, including provenance, building history, appraisal and preservation resources, Chicago neighborhood research, and the history of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Digital collection catalogs available freely online. Catalogs offer detailed art historical context, provenance history, and scientific analysis of artworks in the Art Institute of Chicago's collections.

Contact Us

Ryerson & Burnham Libraries for reference assistance, library orientation information, questions on interlibrary loan, and questions on library access and services. The following staff can also assist with these types of questions:

Violet Jaffe (x3-3665)

Jenn Smith (x7-7103) for questions on circulation, offsite materials, bulk returns, and scanning requests. The following staff can also assist with these types of questions: 

Abby Adams (x3-3667)


The Art Institute of Chicago Archives

For information on our collections, the history of the Art Institute and the School of the Art Institute, donation proposals, corrections, comments, and general questions, please contact Archives staff at