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Updates to Library and Archives Services

Last Updated: 06/22/2022

What’s changed as a result of the continued closure of the Perelman Building?

  • No general building access for public researchers: We arrange onsite appointments on a case-by-case basis. Staff are still providing remote reference services while the Perelman Building and our reading rooms are closed to walk-ins until further notice. The reference desk is not staffed. We continue to provide resources online. We’ll do our best to fulfill your requests in a timely manner, but please let us know if you’re on a deadline. Questions? Contact
  • Library circulation policy: Staff may now take most books home with them. Here’s what you need to know.  
  • Contactless Pick Up and Return: Pick up and return books with minimal contact. We’ve set up book carts in the lower level of the Perelman Building (around the corner to the left when you get off the elevator) for pickup and return, You can also request to have books interoffice mailed to you. See our FAQs for more detailed information.
  • Bookeye scanner: Please continue to do your part to keep the Bookeye scanner clean. Wash or sanitize your hands and let them dry before use.
  • Archives and Special Collections: The Arcadia Special Collections Reading Room is open for onsite appointments on a case-by-case basis. We are also providing remote services. Questions? Contact
  • The Martha and I. Wistar Morris Scholars Study: Carrels in this shared space are available to staff on a first-come, first-serve basis. Questions? Contact
  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests: For information and instructions, check out our ILL page or contact
  • Reference Materials and Periodicals: Our Reference and Periodicals sections are not open for browsing, but these materials are findable in our online catalog. Please feel free to request reference materials as you would circulating books—they will be available for pick up in the lower level of Perelman along with other requested books. Please email if you wish to see a current periodical.
  • New acquisitions and purchase requests: You can request the purchase of electronic materials to support research; however, we have temporarily stopped donations of unsolicited materials and will rarely make new print acquisitions. We realize that this is a major disruption in library services, but please continue to send suggestions to and we will do our best to fulfill your requests.

What hasn’t changed?

Updated Circulation Policies During the Perelman Building Closure

Last Updated: 02/25/2022

New Library Circulation Policy

  • During the pandemic, staff may now take home most library books. Some books may be restricted to use within the Perelman building or supervised use depending on their size, condition, format, and/or uniqueness. The level of access will be decided on a case by case basis. Questions? Email
  • Moving forward, unless specifically designated otherwise by the lending library, all interlibrary loan books may leave the building. Please note that ILL items have shorter loan periods than PMA materials.


  • Transport all books with care. Art books are heavy, fragile, and the coated paper is very sensitive to moisture.
  • There have been no documented cases of surface transmission of Covid-19 from library materials. To prevent damage to our collections, please do not use disinfectant sprays, wipes, or UV light on library books.
  • Many of us are working on kitchen and dining room tables. Please keep library books away from food, drink, pets, and other hazards.
  • Take a reasonable number of books home with you. Better to be pragmatic rather than aspirational.
  • All of us discover books in our home libraries that we have not seen in years. When that moment arrives, please don’t let it be a library book.
  • Please do not pass along books that are checked out to you to your family, friends, or colleagues. Once the book changes hands the likelihood of retrieval and return diminishes.
  • If you find yourself in need of a book that is checked out to another colleague, please let us know, and we will facilitate a recall or acquire an interlibrary loan copy on your behalf.

If you have any questions please send them to 

Access to Non-Circulating Books

Last Updated: 06/22/2022

Our new take-home circulation policies do not apply to our non-circulating collections. These include but are not limited to items from our Rare stacks, damaged or fragile books, kits and portfolios, or mixed media materials.

With our Reading Room open by appointment, you may review most non-circulating materials in your personal workspace in Perelman or Main. Some items may be restricted to supervised use. Request what you need online, and we’ll contact you to schedule a socially-distanced hand-off. Returns must be made the same day, while the Library is still staffed. Just let us know when you’re dropping off your book. If you need more time, we’ll make arrangements with you for a future date.


Questions? Contact


Last Updated: 06/22/2022

1. How does contactless pickup work?

We offer paging and interlibrary loan services on a daily basis. You can pick up materials on the carts near the Media Room in the Lower Level of the Perelman building for pickups and returns. You may also send books back via interoffice mail in a sealed, clearly marked box, mailer, or envelope.

2. When I pick up my book, should I clean or disinfect it?

No! Please don’t clean or disinfect library materials. Extensive research throughout the pandemic has found no reported cases of surface transmission of COVID-19 through library materials.

3. What precautions are you taking to protect library users and staff and minimize risk of infection?

The safety of library staff and patrons is our highest priority. Library and Archives staff will follow all state and museum public health guidelines, including vaccination, social distancing, wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and self-monitoring for symptoms. 

4. What will be the average wait times between requesting a book and receiving it?

Paging for library materials will be completed twice per day: once before 11 A.M., and again before 3 P.M. Books will be available on pickup carts near the Media Room on the Lower Level of the Perelman Building. You can also request that your items be sent to you via interoffice mail. Please note where we should send the materials when you make your request in the online catalog.

Interlibrary loan fulfillment times vary depending on the lending library. Typically, books arrive between 2 and 10 days. Article and chapter scans might be completed within a few hours or in up to five days.

Please note that the museum is only providing mail service to the Perelman Building on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which may add to the wait time for print materials.

5. Can you buy a book at my request?

Please send any purchase requests to However, due to budgetary constraints we have temporarily stopped new acquisitions of most materials, including print books.

6. I work in the Main Building. Do I need to go into Perelman to retrieve books?

When you request a book in the online catalog, please also note in any blank field “interoffice mail” and the department where we should send the book(s). If there is any issue with this, we will make alternative arrangements with you.