Staff Access and Registration


Staff and students with a valid Museum-issued Identification Badge may register for Library Privileges to gain access to the main stacks during staff hours. Additionally, users granted Full Library Privileges are allowed to borrow materials for use within the Museum and to request interlibrary loans (see form for more details).

To register, please submit a completed Library Privileges form signed by the relevant department or division head. Upon submission of the form, users can arrange for an orientation tour of the Library.  

Access to material in the Rare Book Collection and Special Collections is by appointment only. To make an appointment to view a rare book, complete the following form. To make an appointment to view archives and other special collections, refer to our Special Collections Access page.

Please contact us to schedule an orientation or if you have any questions about gaining access to the Library. For help finding Library materials, review our Search Help page.  

Library Policies


Only those with Library Privileges may enter and use the main stacks. Library Privileges may be requested by those who have a valid Museum identification badge (valid badges must include a photo and a magnetic strip). 

Circulation of Materials

All materials must be charged out at the Circulation/Reference desk before being removed from the Library and all materials must be used in the Museum only. Materials from the Rare Book Collection and Special Collections are non-circulating. Reference staff may also restrict the circulation of especially fragile materials, but will make every effort to accommodate users’ needs for access to and reproduction of fragile items. Reference Staff must approve any exceptions to circulation rules for Library materials.

Losses and Replacement Fines

Library users will be charged a replacement fee for materials that are lost, not returned when recalled, or not returned when the users terminate their association with the Museum (in this last case the Department will be invoiced directly). 

Privacy Policy

Information collected by the Library that identifies the intellectual pursuits of a patron (e.g. library circulation records, interlibrary loan requests, reference questions) will not be disclosed to others, including AMNH staff, except as necessary for enforcement of Library rules (e.g. collection of overdue materials, tracing missing volumes, fulfilling interlibrary loan borrowing requests).


Recall notices are sent when a user requests to see an item that is already charged to someone else. Recall notices are sent by email. If the Library does not receive a response within 5 business days, a follow-up phone call will follow the initial email recall notice.


Staff may use the scanner/photocopier to copy Library materials. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies and other reproductions of copyrighted materials; those using the photocopy machines are liable for any infringement of this law. Rare, fragile, and oversize materials may not to be scanned/photocopied without first consulting a Reference Librarian. Special Collections materials may only be scanned/photocopied by Library staff.

Conservation and Preservation of Library Materials

Materials that are charged out should be treated with care; do not store them near open windows, radiators, air conditioners, etc. Do not eat or drink near library materials. Additional information about the Library’s conservation policies is available from the Conservation Department page. Information and advice about preserving books and papers as well as a list of suppliers for archival materials is also provided.

New Books

New books and journals are put on display in the Library every Monday. Users with Full Library Privileges who wish to charge out new books may sign up for them using the hold slips provided. These items will be automatically charged out and will be available for pickup at the Circulation/Reference desk the following Monday. It is the borrower's responsibility to check the hold shelf regularly for materials being held for them. 

Interlibrary Loan

Because interlibrary loan costs are absorbed by the Library, this service is restricted to those with Full Library Privileges needing loans for work-related research. Materials are loaned to the AMNH Library as a courtesy, and their conditions of use, including due dates, must be respected. Users who subsequently return interlibrary loan materials late will lose interlibrary loan privileges.
Visit the Request an Interlibrary Loan page for more information about loan services and policies.