The Library

Notice / Avviso



The Library is closed until further notice and will remain closed for the duration of the summer.

La Biblioteca è chiusa fino a nuovo avviso e rimarrà chiusa per tutta la durata dell'estate.


Request Forms


 To request access to the Rare Book Room
 To request an item from Storage
 To signal a missing book
 To suggest a title for purchase

Access, Rules, and Policies

Policies concerning access for outside readers and book donations as well as the Library Code of Conduct can be found here.


The following is valid for readers, for new readers, for any visitor of the AAR.
* To enter the AAR, you need a photo ID (readers’ card; for new readers: ID).
* No bag, backpack, 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 Gate.

The general qualification is an advanced degree (master's 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 e-mail, regular mail or fax. IMPORTANT: Upon submitting your written request, you must wait for a response from us before showing up at the Gate. 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 the AAR. These readers should contact the Library in advance in order to schedule an appointment. E-mail: or tel.: 06-5846419 or 06-5846418. 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 Mon-Fri 9:30-12:00 and in the afternoons by appointment. 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 re-apply. Any reader who has been absent for 5 years or more (except a returning Fellow of the AAR) will be treated as a new reader and must bring a new letter of introduction.

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 Mon-Fri 9:30-12:00 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-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.


Any member of the residential community (Fellows, Residents, VA/VS, and professional staff in residence) may have 24-hour access to the Library, via his/her normal key-card. This access will be granted only after an orientation to the Library. The 24-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 24-hour access.
Because of the Academy's long-standing relationship with the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies, ICCS students will be issued short-term cards.

Summer programs
Individual readers' cards and after hours access are provided to all summer course participants. 


Rules of the American Academy in Rome and its Library.

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, 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.

• 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 bookcarts in the staircase area of each floor.

• Library readers 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 you refrain from photocopying book and folios because of the damage it causes.

• Library readers may not enter Academy grounds before the Library opens nor should they remain after the Library closes.  Access to the garden is restricted to study purposes and during lunch hour, and is required for telephone calls or smoking.  If you are a smoker, please make use of the ashtrays and help us to keep the grounds litter free.

• Bar service is available to our users within the library’s 9:00 to 18:00 schedule.  For more information regarding meals and sandwiches please speak with the bar staff.

If the Library seems cold it is because the AAR has one 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.


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 selectively), Contemporary Art Theory (highly selectively), and Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Music (highly selectively) -- 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 (e-mail: or tel. +39-06-5846419) 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 which 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 it 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.


The Arthur and Janet C. Ross Library contains 167,000 volumes in the fields of classical studies and the history of (Italian) art and architecture (chiefly 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 maintains a good working collection in the history of art and architecture, especially the Renaissance. Small but noteworthy collections include contemporary art and architecture, landscape architecture, Italian history and literature, American literature, historical travel books, and music. [See the section entitled "NEW ACQUISITIONS LIST" below for a detailed description of our acquisitions policy.]

The rare book collection of over 3,300 volumes consists of chiefly sixteenth- to eighteenth-century imprints in classics, classical archaeology, and Italian art and architecture, including sizeable collections of Roman guidebooks and early art treatises.

The Library acquires ca. 2,500 volumes per year. It subscribes to 600 current periodicals. Gifts are welcome in the core areas of collecting, especially the publications of our Fellows and readers. See also Special Collections.


Services the Library offers, including requesting storage items, in-process items, rare books, interlibrary loan, scanning and photocopying, and computing. 

Requesting Storage Items
American Academy items found in the catalog with the collection designation STORAGE may be requested using the online request form, which is also accessible in the catalog. Please place requests before 1:00 pm of the day of consultation. Depending upon the quantity of volumes requested, we may provide you with the requested books at the front desk of the Library at 2:30pm or we may ask you to accompany us to storage to consult and make scans on location. NB: Please check the online catalog carefully, also for print sources now available online.

Requesting In-Process Items
In-process items are easily identifiable. Instead of a call number they have only an accession number (e.g., 2019-0234) and no collection information. These items may be requested at the Library's Front Desk. Titles that are on order will display in the catalog with the status "ordered". Should an item have no information attached to it, please contact the Front Desk.

Requesting Rare Books
American Academy items found in the catalog with the collection designation RARE BOOKS may be requested using the online request form. Please request before 10:00 am of the day of consultation.  Following the request, the Barbara Goldsmith Rare Book Room will be opened from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Professional Photography Services
Fees are charged for assisted photography (e.g., of rare books) and for the publication of reproductions. Please contact the Library's Front Desk for more information (06-5846419).

Assigned Carrels and Shelves
Assigned carrels are reserved for: affiliated fellows without studies or studios at the Academy (e.g., Mellon-East Central Visiting Scholars); partners of fellows who are also scholars or writers; and selected outside readers who use the collection intensively (reserving up to 20 books at a time). All other readers who wish to reserve up to 5 books at a time may do so on the book shelves in the catalog area. Course reserves and reserved shelves for special projects or group study are located in the Frank Brown Room. Reading tables will be kept clear.

Computing and Internet Access
The library offers free wireless internet access for its users. Please restrict internet use to scholarly endeavors. Pen drives may be used to download data; no printers are available.

In-House Circulation
Fellows, Residents, and other members of the AAR community are allowed to sign out books to their rooms, studios or studies, with the understanding that these books can be recalled for another reader. Recalled items must be returned within three days. If a user leaves Rome for more than three days, she or he must return the borrowed item(s) before leaving. Reference books marked with a special sticker do not circulate.

Interlibrary Loan
Fellows and other members of the AAR community are encouraged to use other libraries in Rome for materials not found in our Library. Interlibrary loan services for materials not found in Rome are available to members of the AAR community only; outside readers are asked to use the interlibrary services of the Biblioteca Nazionale. As we do not lend books ourselves, we generally request articles or parts of books in the form of photocopies or digital documents.

New Acquisitions List

Click here for a list of new orders and recently acquired books.


The Library actively develops and maintains the strength of its core collections. Publications in areas beyond our core mission are acquired as possible. Gifts are welcome in all areas of scholarly inquiry and artistic production relating to the mission of the Academy.

The Library welcomes gifts to the collection. For more information on donating books to the Library, see our Book Acceptance Policy under Rules and Policies.

Comprehensive coverage means most scholarly primary and secondary source materials as well as reference literature. Selective coverage means all important, major titles. Most formats/materials are of interest: monographs, microform, serials, series, conference proceedings, Festschriften, collected essays, electronic databases, e-journals and e-books.

Lists of lacunae of particular interest are continually updated. Please contact us for more information.


Maintain a comprehensive, in-depth collection in Classical Studies and Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art and Architecture in Italy.
Maintain a working collection in Modern Art and Architecture in Italy, including Landscape Architecture, as well as Italian Literature and History, especially dealing with Rome during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Serve as repository for publications by our Rome Prize Fellows and Residents. 


Classical Studies

Comprehensive coverage:
Greek and Latin philology (language and literature)
Greek, Etruscan, Italic, and Roman archaeology
Greek, Etruscan, Italic, Roman art and architecture
Topography of the ancient world
Ancient history (Greece, Roman Empire)
Ancient philosophy (Greek and Roman)
Ancient religion and mythology (including Greek, Etruscan, Roman, early Christianity)
Greek, Latin, Etruscan, Italic epigraphy
Greek and Latin palaeography
Greek and Latin papyrology
Greek and Roman numismatics

Selective coverage:
Prehistoric archaeology -- the Aegean, Near East, Egypt, Anatolia (exception: comprehensive coverage for pre-Roman Italic areas).

Medieval to Modern Art and Architecture

Comprehensive coverage:
Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque art and architecture.

Selective coverage:
Post-Baroque art and architecture (includes landscape architecture and urban design). Rome is covered better than other Italian cities. Artists working in Rome after 1700 are covered selectively.

Medieval to Modern History

Selective coverage:
Emphasis on Rome and Italy, especially Italian medieval and Renaissance history, and the history of papal Rome and the Curia (Curial intellectuals, bureaucrats, and families). History of religious institutions and patronage. History of humanism and the classical tradition. History of science, the Inquisition.

Medieval to Modern Literature and Philosophy

Selective coverage:
Medieval and Humanistic Latin (patristics, humanism). Medieval palaeography, manuscript studies.

American Literature

Selective coverage:
Core collection of historical classics (Jerome gift, Library of America collection).
Fellows' writings: sought as gifts.


Selective coverage:
Medieval and Byzantine music

Historical collection from three sources:
Gifts (chiefly scores, including Fellows’ works)
Strunk collection of music history, with a special emphasis on Byzantine music
American scores (USIS gift and Fellows’ works)