Avery Classics Research and Appointments

The Avery Classics Collection is the rare book collection of Avery Library and one of the largest architectural rare book collections in the world. Its strengths reflect the Library's original subject scope, established by Avery's founders in 1890: architecture, archaeology, urbanism and the decorative arts.


How to Make an Appointment


Because Avery Classics’ materials are rare, unique, and usually irreplaceable, they are subject to a higher level of security than other library materials. Avery Classics collections do not circulate and can only be accessed in our Reading Room. Researchers are required to create their own Special Collections Research Account to request to see materials in the Avery Classics Reading Room. You will need to provide a current address, email, telephone number, and other contact information. Upon your first visit, you will need to validate your account in-person with a government issued photo identification or a Columbia ID.



Once you have created your Special Collections Research Account, you will be able to request materials.

All items must be requested ahead of your visit. Turnaround times will vary depending on the materials requested as offsite materials may take up to 3 days to arrive on campus. Please note that readers are limited to 5 items per appointment.

  • from the CLIO online library catalog record: click on "Request: Special Collections" on the right side of the page

Once you have followed the steps to request materials, you will be prompted to schedule a date for your request. Your appointment is not confirmed until you have received an email to that effect from Avery Classics staff.


What to expect at your visit

  • You will be asked to wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling your requested materials.
  • Staff may ask you to move away from the table as they adjust any supports or demonstrate safe handling of materials.
  • Briefcases, large purses, bags, coats and umbrellas must be checked with the reading room attendant.
  • Pencils or laptops only are permitted for note taking. 
  • No food or drink is allowed in the reading room.


Digital Copies & Copyright

Study Images

At the discretion of the assistant in the Classics collections, readers may photograph items for personal reference. Use of tripods and flash is prohibited.


Imaging Requests

Avery Library’s imaging team provides high-resolution digital imaging materials from our collections for purposes of supporting teaching, research, and scholarship based on feasibility of the request and safety of materials.

Before starting a digital imaging order, researchers must physically identify the item within our collections. To proceed with an order, please provide the title, publication date, and call number of the item. Reference images of the desired page or plate are also helpful.



Photographic and/or reproduction fees may be charged for an image request. For general terms and conditions, consult Digital Imaging Services. Please note that photography may not be available or possible due to the physical condition of objects. It is the patron's responsibility to clear all rights for works of art protected by copyright.


Citing our Collections

In all cases images of Avery Classics collection materials should be properly cited. A full citation includes Avery's credit line : 

Avery Classics, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.