Access, Rules & Policies

Library - Access Rules Policies

Access to Outside Readers

The following is valid for readers, for new readers, and for any visitor to AAR:

  • Access is granted only upon reservation. Reservations are personal and cannot be transferred to others. Reservations must be made at
  • Prospective readers must fulfill the requirements and have completed the access procedures (detailed below) before making a reservation
  • To enter AAR, you need a photo ID (readers’ card; for new readers: ID)
  • No bag, backpack, or luggage larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 (inches 16 x 14 x 6) is permitted on the property. There is no possibility to leave large items at the AAR gate

The general qualification is an advanced degree (master’s degree or doctorate) or laurea magistrale in the humanities or affiliation with one of the foreign academies. All prospective readers must complete a Library Access Form and submit a letter of introduction from their home institution detailing academic background and current research project. This letter must be written not by the requestor himself, but by another person (head of the institution, supervisor, else); in the case of unaffiliated individuals by another reader or authoritative person. The letter can be submitted via email to libraryaccess [at] (libraryaccess[at]aarome[dot]org), by mail (attn. Library), or by fax (+39 06 581 0788).

Upon submitting your written request, you must wait for a response from us before making a reservation. Students in their fifth year (il secondo livello) who are working on a thesis, may ask to consult up to five items uniquely held by AAR. These readers should contact the library in advance in order to schedule an appointment. Write to libraryaccess [at] (libraryaccess[at]aarome[dot]org) or call +39 06 584 6419 or +39 06 584 6418.

Prior to the arrival of the reader, the library staff will pull the requested items and have them ready in time for the appointment. We accept new and renewing readers Monday–Friday, 9:30am–noon, and in the afternoons by appointment.

We ask new readers to go on a brief self-guided Library tour (in English or in Italian).

Applicants who have been approved for a library card, but have not come to the library to collect it within three months, will have to reapply. Any reader who has been absent for five years or more (except a returning AAR Fellow) will be treated as a new reader and must bring a new letter of introduction.

Library Cards

One-Year Cards

A qualified outside reader who is resident in Rome or plans to be here for several months may be issued a one-year reader’s card with a photo ID (tessera). The one-year card is renewable also within the Monday–Friday, 9:30am–noon schedule if there are no problems.

Short-Term Cards

Short-term cards, without photos, will be issued for persons who use the library for a shorter period of time, up to three months.

Special Provisions for the Summer

As the library becomes very crowded in June and July, and the quality of service suffers, we issue only short-term cards from May to July, unless the reader has written to us earlier to request a regular reader’s card.

Use of Specific Materials

A reader may be referred by another foreign academy (with the appropriate form) for a specific title or volume or for access to the library.

Access to AAR Community

Any member of the residential community (Fellows, Residents, Visiting Artists and Scholars, and professional staff in residence) may have twenty-four-hour access to the library, via their normal keycard. This access will be granted only after an orientation to the library. The twenty-four-hour access can be withdrawn if the user does not return a borrowed library item within two days of a recall. The access will be restored upon the return of the item(s). Temporary guests may be admitted to the library on a case-by-case basis, but will not normally get twenty-four-hour access.

Because of the Academy’s long-standing relationship with the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) and close collaboration with the University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway students will be issued short-term cards.

Summer Programs

Individual readers’ cards and after-hours access are provided to all summer course participants.

Library Code of Conduct

The American Academy in Rome and its library is a private institution. Our rules must be respected. If a reader of the library does not adhere to these rules, library access may be discontinued.

The library operates on the honor system. If we are to continue the practice of open shelves—unlike virtually all Italian libraries—these minimal security measures are critical. It may become necessary to discontinue public access to our books and scanners altogether if readers are found to handle books carelessly.

Rules of the American Academy in Rome and Its Library

  • Do not bring food and drink into the library. They can cause permanent damage to the books
  • Do not bring bags into the library. Only small purses and laptops are allowed. Lockers are provided to the left of the reception area
  • Coats and jackets may not be brought into the library. There are hangers to the left of the reception area
  • Mobile phones may not be used in the library
  • When a book is being used for more than one day, it must be checked out
  • The books used must be returned to the designated tables or book carts in the staircase area of each floor
  • No animals or pets are allowed in the Library, other than seeing eye dogs

Patrons have access to a free self-service book scanner. Please take care when scanning or taking digital photographs of the library’s books. We ask that patrons refrain from photocopying books because of the damage it causes.

If the library seems cold, it is because AAR has one general heating system, and the hours the heat is on reflect the needs of the residents of the building. Be sure to dress warmly during the winter.

Book Acceptance Policy

The library welcomes the gift of books in its areas of collecting—classical studies, the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance—especially art and architecture, but also political, social, and intellectual history—Italian language and literature (highly selective), contemporary art theory (highly selective), and medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music (highly selective)—whether single volumes or entire collections.

Lists of titles of particular interest are continually updated in our lists of Desiderata. Donors should check with the library (write to library [at] (library[at]aarome[dot]org) or call +39 06 584 6419) before making a donation and include a list of the books donated. It is preferred that the donor first check the Library Catalog to find out if it is already in the collection and avoid duplication. The library provides a letter of receipt, and in each book donated a book plate that carries the donor’s or other designated name; however, the library does not estimate the value of the book(s). The cost of cataloging varies, depending on the rarity of the volumes.

We are most grateful if donors are able to cover the costs of cataloging and/or shipping. In the case of large collections, the library will make every effort to keep all donated works but reserves the right not to accession individual books determined to be less relevant to the collections. Proceeds of the sale of such volumes will be used to benefit the collections. Books will be integrated into existing classifications rather than kept together as a group.


Regular hours:



By appointment only

Photographic Archive

Open by appointment only

Archaeological Study Collection

Open by appointment only

Barbara Goldsmith Rare Book Room

Regular hours:



By appointment only