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Art Institute of Chicago: The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries

The Art Institute of Chicago

General Information

Institution: Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson and Burnham Libraries
Address: 111 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 443-3666
Public hours: 1:00pm-5:00pm Wed. & Fri., 10:30am-8:00pm Thurs.
Appointment hours:  1:00pm-5:00pm Mon.-Tues.
Appointment hours are designed for researchers not in need of reference or research help. The Libraries ask that all requests for research materials be submitted at the time the appointment is made, at least one week in advance. The appointment and material request form can be found here.
Anyone in need of reference help should visit during the public hours.
Please see the Libraries' Hours and Location page for up-to-date hours and holiday closures.
About the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries:
The Ryerson Library was originally built in 1901 as an addition to the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago to house the small collection of art books begun in 1879 with the founding of the Art Institute itself. The Burnham Library was built in 1912 to house an architectural library bequeathed by Daniel H. Burnham. In 1957, the two libraries completely merged to create The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.


The Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago allow access to 96 different databases either at the Art Institute, the SAIC campus, or from other locations with an ARTIC username and password. These databses include EBSCO, WorldCat, various art and fashion databases, and more.

For the full list of databases accessible at the Art Institute of Chicago's Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, please click here.

Summary of Collection

Collection Size: as of January 2014

  • Books
    • 6,000 English language volumes
    • 5,000 Japanese language volumes
    • 2,000 other language volumes
    • 13,000 total volumes
  • Serials
    • 100 English language titles
    • 100 Japanese language titles
    • 20 other language titles
    • 220 total titles
  • Other
    • 2,000 English language items
    • 20 Japanese language items
    • 240 other language items
    • 2,260 total items
  • Totals
    • 8,100 English language items
    • 5,120 Japanese language items
    • 2,260 other language items
    • 15,480 total items

Notable collections:

  • Mary Reynolds Collection: a large collection held by the Libraries, comprised of over 900 books and serials pertaining to Surrealism.
  • Archival collections: the archival collections that the Libraries hold focus predominantly on 19th- and 20th-century architects' papers. The finding aids for these collections can be found here.
  • Digital archival collections: the Libraries also hold notably smaller collections of digitized archival texts and images. These include the Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection, Magic of America, and Archival Image & Media Collection. Further information can be found on the Archival Collections page.



Digital Collections

The OPAC for the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago.

A collection of digitized guides for research work at the Art Institute of Chicago.

A small selection of materials, including digital surrogates and finding aids, from the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries archival collections that have been digitized.

Collection of digital representations of archival and special collections.

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North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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