Using the Library

Researches examine collection items in the reading room.

The research library reading room is free and open to anyone over the age of 18 with projects or interests related to our collections. Students under the age of 18 are also welcome to use the library when accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Unlike at browsing or lending libraries, AAS library users request materials they would like to read or examine. AAS staff members then deliver the requested items to the reading room. Requested materials are viewed in the reading room.

First Research Visit

All new AAS library users or readers are required to present two forms of identification (one bearing a photograph, such as a driver's license or passport). All new library users must also create an account in My Web AAS, our online request system. The account can be created online before the first visit or upon arrival at AAS. 


New library users receive a brief orientation with a staff member to discuss their research interests and review AAS's reading room policies and procedures, including how to use My Web AAS and how to locate collection materials by using the online catalog.

Return Research Visits

All readers are issued an AAS library card that they should bring with them on every visit. In addition, readers are asked to update their library registration annually.

Please read about accessibility at AAS.


Readers are welcome to take their own photographs, for research purposes only, according to the reading room photography policies. Readers' Services staff can provide a limited number of photocopies or pdfs.

When visiting the American Antiquarian Society or attending an AAS program, individuals may be photographed by our staff for marketing or promotional purposes. If you do not wish to be photographed, please inform the photographer. To have a photograph removed from one of our online platforms, please contact us at library [at] (library[at]mwa[dot]org).

Digital Images/Rights and Reproductions

Information on obtaining digital images and image rights is available as a step-by-step guide.


What is the address of the reading room?

The reading room is located at 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, 01609. 

What type of identification is acceptable?

Two forms of identification are required when becoming an AAS library user. One form must bear a photograph, such as a driver’s license or passport. The other form may be a university ID card or library card. To protect readers' privacy, Social Security cards and credit cards are not acceptable forms of identification.

How can I find out if AAS has materials related to my project or interest?

Researchers can determine if AAS has material relevant to their project by searching the general catalog, browsing the collections descriptions, or by contacting the appropriate staff member.

Virtual visitors may browse the AAS digital resources available anywhere.

In addition, free public tours are given every Wednesday at 3:00 pm. Staff members conducting the tours will be happy to answer questions about the collections.

Contact Us

For further questions regarding using the library, please contact Dan Boudreau, Head of Readers’ Services, at 508-471-2171 or dboudreau [at] (dboudreau[at]mwa[dot]org).