Research and Appointments
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Avery Drawings & Archives' reading room is currently open to Columbia affiliates only. Please note that a Special Collection Research Account and a confirmed appointment is required to consult our collections in our reading room. Please see below for more information.
SERVICE ALERT: Visitor and alumni access remains suspended until further notice. For ongoing updates, please see Library Status Updates page.
Our collections are generally arranged by architect or firm name. Use our finding aids and catalog records to identify material for your research, accessible via the following search tools:
- Collections List
- Browse our collections by creators
- Columbia University Libraries’ online catalog (CLIO)
- Search by subject, architect, firm, or project
- Set Format to Manuscripts/Archives
- Set Location to Avery, Fine Arts, Ware
- Archival Collections Portal
- Search by keyword, for example "Lincoln Center" or housing, and set Repository to Avery Drawings & Archives
- OR browse collections by Creator, Title, and Subject
Hours and Policies
Our appointment hours are Tuesday to Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. For holidays and special closures, please see our calendar.
We ask for one weeks' notice for appointment requests. Appointments are confirmed once the selection of materials has been approved (see below for more information on how to request materials).
Appointments are for one researcher at a time only. Due to space considerations and safety of the materials, we typically limit requests to no more than:
- 8 folders of drawings; or
- 8 boxes per day, or 5 boxes of off-site material; or
- 5 rolls or tube boxes
If your material request exceeds these limits, you may need to book multiple appointments. Limits for combinations of these materials will be at the discretion of D&A staff.
Make an Appointment
STEP 1: REGISTER
A Special Collections Research Account is required to make an appointment and request materials to review in the Avery Drawings & Archives Reading Room. You will need to provide a current address, email, and telephone number. Upon your first visit, you will need validate your account in-person with a Columbia ID card or government issued photo identification.
STEP 2: REQUEST MATERIALS
All materials you wish to see must be requested at least one week prior to your requested appointment time. We have a small Reading Room with limited space, and cannot guarantee your preferred appointment time. All appointments are confirmed by email once the selection of materials has been approved.
For information on how to request materials for your research visit, please see our guide "How to Place a New Request."
You can submit requests via:
Online finding aids: For collections that have online finding aids, you can request directly from the finding aid’s container list. Click the check box located on the right for the box(es) or roll(s) you need, and then scroll back to the top of the container list document and click “Submit Request” button in the red box at top.
CLIO Records: For collection records in our online catalog, click on "Request: Special Collections" on the right side of the page in the gray box. If the collection has an online finding aid, this link will re-direct you to the finding aid (see instructions above for requesting from a finding aid).
Manual Request Form: For collections that have Excel inventories or pdf finding aids, please log into your Special Collections Research Account and click on “New Request” in the Main Menu. Then scroll down to “Non-CLIO or Unprocessed Materials” section to find the “Manual Request Form.”
If you are unsure what materials to consult, please email the department with the name of the project or topic you are researching and staff will direct you to appropriate resources.
STEP 3: APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING
Upon submitting your request, you will receive an email from the department within 2-3 business days confirming your request and currently available appointment times. We will work with you over email to schedule your appointment(s).
What You Can Bring
You may bring into the reading room a laptop, tablet, smartphone and/or a digital camera (no flash or tripods permitted). Patrons are encouraged to take their own study images for research purposes. Notepads and pencils are provided to take notes during your visit.
Outerwear, backpacks, bags, laptop and camera cases, umbrellas, food and drink and other personal items including books, notebooks and research materials must be stored in the lockers provided while you are using the collections. Food and drink—including water bottles—are strictly prohibited.
Staff reserves the right to inspect belongings at any time.
Reading Room Rules
Please review our reading room rules.
How to Find Us
Drawings & Archives is located in Avery Library in Avery Hall on Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus. Please consult the campus map and walking instructions to Avery Library.
You must show a Columbia University ID card or a visitor’s pass to enter Avery Library.
To find us in the library, take the main stairs or elevator behind the front desk attendant. At the bottom level, turn left at the Service Desk and continue until you enter the Fine Arts stacks. Follow the purple floor through the stacks to the Wallach Study Center. Drawings & Archives is past the double doors and display cases.
Researchers are welcome to photograph collection items during research visits for study and research purposes. No flash or tripods are permitted.
Due to limited staff resources, we are unable to provide scanning services for remote study. We can provide contact information for a researcher-for-hire.
Avery Library’s imaging team provides high-resolution digital imaging of drawings, photographs, and other documents 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, we require a description of the item, its physical location within the collection (box/folder/drawing number), and a reference image.
It is the responsibility of the user to secure permission from the appropriate copyright holder. In most cases, Avery Library owns only the physical object and does not assume responsibility for intellectual property, copyright, or other legal issues involved in the publication and reproduction of items from its collections. Click here for information on rights and reproductions.
Citing our Collections
In citing our collections, please use the following credit lines:
[Description of item], [Box and Folder], [Collection name], Drawings and Archives, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives citation:
[Description of item], [Item number], Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University).