Using the AAPG Library

Outside Researchers/Public Visitors

*Please note: the AA/PG Library is not located in the American Art and Portrait Gallery building; it is one block north of the main museum. Wheelchair access to the library and help in using its collections are available. The library is not open in the evenings or on weekends. Very limited parking is available on the street and on commercial parking lots in the vicinity.

Metrorail provides the most convenient public transportation: take the Red, Green or Yellow lines to Gallery Place/Chinatown station, and proceed to the 9th Street exit to the Galleries. The Victor Building is across the street and one block north, at the corner of 9th St. & H St. NW.

The entrance is at 750 9th St. Be prepared to show a valid ID at the security desk. Take the elevator to the 2nd floor; the AA/PG Library is directly across from the Archives of American Art. Push the buzzer for access to the Library.

Outside researchers and the public may visit the AA/PG Library from 10:00-5:00, Monday through Friday. Researchers may request books and materials from the Library staff, and materials must be used in the reading room. 

Non-Smithsonian researchers may borrow materials through their own public, special or academic library’s interlibrary loan program. SIL adheres to the interlibrary loan guidelines of the American Library Association. It does not loan periodicals, rare books, folios, vertical file items, microform, auction catalogs or reference materials. The AA/PG Library may not loan other materials which are fragile, damaged or otherwise at risk.

Smithsonian Staff

Smithsonian staff, interns and volunteers may use the AA/PG Library without an appointment from 9:00-5:00, Monday through Friday. The stacks are open to those with a valid Smithsonian Institution badge. All persons with a valid Smithsonian Institution badge may obtain a library card from one of the Smithsonian Libraries’ branches. The card is necessary to check out materials. Orientation sessions for new patrons are offered by the staff, and assistance to all users is provided as needed.

Library materials, except for reference materials, may be borrowed with valid library cards for periods of 1 to 6 months, depending on staff status. These materials are federal property and may be used in staff offices and workstations, and must not leave the Smithsonian campus.

                                                                                                                          Guide to the Collections

The primary tool for searching the library’s holdings is the Smithsonian Libraries’ online catalog available through SIRIS, the Smithsonian Institution Research Information Service ( All of the library’s holdings are cataloged here. It is suggested that outside researchers and the public wishing to visit the library review its holdings online first to determine if the books and journals they wish to use are available. The Smithsonian Libraries’ collections are also cataloged in OCLC (WorldCat).

Within the library, the books and journals are arranged according to the Library of Congress classification system. Assistance is available upon request. Orientation to new or visiting patrons and assistance to all users are provided.

Photocopy/Microform Facilities

Photocopy machines and microform reader/printers are available in the library for patron use. Copyright restrictions are observed in any photocopying. The copying of fragile materials and of oversize books may be restricted by staff.

Copying is done by library staff for non-Smithsonian researchers, and there is a nominal charge for copies and print-outs.


Users are reminded to exercise care in handling library materials, especially when photocopying. No smoking, eating, or drinking is allowed in the library. Use of cell phones in the library is prohibited. Users are asked to avoid using post-it notes and paper clips to mark pages in books and journals or leaving pencils, pens, papers, or other objects in books. Please report materials found in poor condition to the staff.


If an item is lost, the borrower will be charged for the cost of replacement, plus a processing fee. Users who damage materials will be charged for the cost of repair or replacement.

More information for Smithsonian Staff on borrowing policies can be found on the Tools for the Researcher page.