Tranquil, elegantly redesigned, and renovated in 2007, the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Library in the McKim Mead & White building is a unique state-of-the-art sanctuary for members of the Academy community who seek a measure of uninterrupted time in a comfortable, well-equipped atmosphere charged with the potential of unexpected discovery.
The Arthur & Janet C. Ross Library contains 172,000 volumes in the fields of classical studies and the history of art and architecture (chiefly Italian, medieval, and Renaissance) with strong collections in ancient Mediterranean art and archaeology, classical literature, ancient topography—including the history of the city of Rome—and related fields such as epigraphy, numismatics, and papyrology.
The library, part of the URBiS Library Network of international specialized libraries in Rome (Unione Romana Biblioteche Internazionali Specializzate), is open stacks and provides every modern research amenity in a restored and restorative setting eminently suited to independent study and scholarly research. The Library has working space for over eighty people, distributed across the various reading rooms on the gound floor, the mezzanines, and in the basement. The heart of the library is the Arthur Ross Reading Room, with handsome wooden shelving and furniture designed by McKim, Mead & White. Complementing the Arthur Ross Reading Room are the Linda Bettman Reference Room, the Frank Brown Group Study Room, the Buonanno Folio Reading Room and the Barbara Goldsmith Rare Book Room, designed by Michael Graves (1962 Fellow, 1979 Resident) and dedicated in June 1996.
The library’s wide-ranging catalog is a treasure trove of invaluable collections in history, archaeology, and the art of Rome and Italy. It includes an extensive photographic archive documenting Rome’s many monuments as well as a comprehensive record of the work of past Rome Prize Fellows, and one of the largest private collections of antiquities ranging from statues and inscriptions to coins, pottery and millstones. With 172,000 volumes in the classical studies and the history of art and architecture, the Library is widely respected for its collections in ancient Mediterranean archaeology and art, Greek and Latin literature, ancient topography including the history of the city of Rome, and ancient religions. The rare book collection consists of chiefly sixteenth- to eighteenth-century imprints in the classical studies, archaeology, art, and architecture, including a sizable collection of Roman guidebooks and early art treatises, and boasts a noteworthy collection in contemporary art and architecture, landscape architecture, Italian history and literature, American literature, historical travel books, and music.
Each year the library adds about 2,500 volumes to its collection and subscribes to approximately 600 current periodicals and scholarly publications in the Academy’s core areas of interest. The main users of the library are Fellows and Residents of the Academy. Reading passes are issued to international scholars, qualified residents of Rome, and visiting artists and scholars. Reading passes are issued to qualified persons who are pursuing or hold a graduate degree and present a letter of introduction, but exceptions are made for the use of publications not available elsewhere.
The Academy is a founding member of the Unione Romana Biblioteche Internazionali Specializzate (URBiS), and contributes to its online catalog available at Urbis. The library is further part of WorldCat. Two of its medieval manuscripts are part of the Digital Scriptorium and the unique holdings of its Photographic Archive and Norton-Van Buren Archaeological Study Collection are being gradually cataloged and digitized with the support of the Kress Foundation and private donors and are made available for research via the Academy’s Digital Humanities Center (DHC).
The library staff consists of the Drue Heinz Librarian, two Assistant Librarians, the Librarian for Classical Studies, and two Library Assistants.