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

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

Research Appointment Requests

This page provides information on how to view items in the Libraries' and Archives' collections that cannot circulate. Visit the tabs above for information on our general reading room hours; to learn more about the access and services available to you; to review our circulation policy; for information on stacks access; for instructions on how to request library materials; to view our FAQs; and to learn more about access and services in the Archives.

Research Appointments: What to Expect

The Franke Reading Room is open to all Art Institute of Chicago staff to pick up pre-requested circulating materials, work with the open shelf reference collection or items on staff reserve, use scanning equipment, return materials or use the reading room as a quiet work space -- no appointment necessary -- during the following hours: Mondays through Fridays: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


When do I need an appointment?

Appointments are needed to view materials from non-circulating collections. Accessioned objects, special collections materials, archives, artist files, and other restricted materials, can only be accessed in the reading room by appointment.



Special collections items, accessioned items, and archives do not circulate outside the reading room. Museum staff may make appointments to view restricted materials from special collections 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).

Reserve a Library special collections appointment time here:

  Make a Library Appointment

Sign into the online catalog and request the materials you would like to consult during your appointment a minimum of four business days prior to the appointment date. 

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.

Appointments are for viewing and scanning specifically-requested materials only. Reference staff will be on hand to assist you with questions, but we are not able to retrieve materials from the stacks outside of our dedicated paging shifts.

What Happens Next?

Come to the reading room on the date and time of your appointment. The reading room doors opposite the grand staircase are unlocked Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the museum is closed to the public; at other times, we ask that you please use the spiral staircase or the elevator from the ground floor in order to access the space. Your materials will be available on a reading room table with any book supports necessary for you to view the materials safely. You are welcome to bring your camera in order to take study images of the materials. Special collection materials and materials in fragile condition should not be scanned on a scanner. Please consult with the librarian or archivist on duty if you have questions about photoduplication.

Coats, large bags, pens, and food and drink are not permitted in the reading room. These items will need to be stored in your office prior to your visit. Additionally, we ask that you please wash your hands prior to handling Research Center materials.

Library or archives staff will be available to assist with your questions.

Ryerson & Burnham Libraries Search

Search the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries

Input a keyword into the box and click Search to begin searching the online library catalog.

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 and context 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 Ryerson & Burnham Archives collections. Materials may include 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 Ryerson & Burnham librarians to assist research on a variety of art historical and architectural topics, including provenance research, 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