Library Services

Tutorials & Research Assistance

Museum staff, research associates, students and visitors are welcome to contact the Marie Louise Rosenthal Library in order to schedule an orientation session. Please send an email to:

Understanding Call Numbers

Each book in the library has a unique call number. A call number is like an address, it tells us where the book is located within each library collection. The Library uses the Library of Congress Classification system for call numbers. This system uses a combination of letters and numbers to arrange materials by subjects.

Download a detailed tutorial about call numbers.

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Acquisitions Requests

Museum staff may request that new single or multi-part monographs be purchased for the Library Collection. Due to the ongoing and unpredictable costs of journal subscriptions, the Library is unable to subscribe to new journal titles at this time.

Please limit your purchase requests to no more than 3 titles per month.

Before submitting a request, please be sure to search our online catalog first to check if the Library already owns the item or if it is on order.

To submit a request, please send an email to Michael Trombley ( with a complete citation. Please include: title, author/editor, publisher and date.

Due to the fact that we order materials through various vendors, it is difficult to estimate arrival time of the items you've requested. We will contact you via email when the item is processed and cataloged.

Recent additions to WorldCat

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Publications Exchange

In 1895 the Museum's first publication, An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Field Columbian Museum, was sent to museums and scientific organizations worldwide, accompanied by solicitation for mutual exchange of publications. Several hundred exchange agreements were quickly established, and today the Library receives about 900 journal titles through the exchange program.

Exchange partners may receive one or both of the Museum's two series: Fieldiana Anthropology or Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences (covering the areas of botany, geology and zoology). For more information about Fieldiana, see the Fieldiana publication page.

Institutions wishing to exchange their publications with the Museum or who have questions regarding a current exchange should contact:

Michael Trombley

Serials & Exchanges

Field Museum Library

1400 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive

Chicago IL 60605 USA

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Interlibrary Loan

Borrowing Information

Borrowing privileges are reserved for Field Museum staff and affiliates who are registered users of the Library. Before submitting an interlibrary loan request, please check the Library's online catalog to verify that the item you're requesting is not owned by our Library.*

How do I submit a request?

Please provide as much information as you can about the book (author, title, edition, year) or article (journal title, article title, author, volume, number, year) and send an email to: Having the best, most complete citation available is extremely important!*

What can I borrow?

We will request any type of item you may need, in accordance with the policy of the lending library. This policy may exclude recordings of any kind, complete issues of serials, oversize items and rare books.*

How long will it take for the materials I've requested to arrive?

The average delivery time for a book if 7-10 days. The average time for an article request is 5-7 days. Delivery time is entirely dependent on the library sending the material and the availability of the requested material.*

How long can I keep the item?

The policy of the lending library sets both the borrowing period and the ability to renew items. Please respect this due date! Failure to return materials on time damages our relationship with other libraries and compromises our ability to borrow materials from them in the future.*

How will I receive my materials?

Most article requests are scanned by the lending library and are sent electronically to our ILL staff where they are checked in and sent through to your email. Hard copies of articles as well as books will be left for you at the Reference Desk. You will be informed via email that they are available for pick-up.*

Can I take a book I have borrowed out of the building?

No. Please treat interlibrary loan items as you would items from the Library collection. Unless otherwise noted, items can be taken to your workspace only; they should never leave the museum.*

What happens if I lose or damage a book?

If an item borrowed through interlibrary loan is lost or damaged, you, the borrower, are responsible for the replacement of the material, as determined by the lending library.*

Where do I return books I have borrowed through interlibrary loan?

Please return all loans to the Reference Desk in the main Library Reading Room.

Lending Information

Lending requests are welcomed from the libraries of museums, universities and research institutions worldwide. Requests must be submitted from libraries (not individuals) via OCLC Resource Sharing (symbol: IBT). We are unable to serve public libraries for interlibrary loan.

Content is provided free of charge to most Illinois academic, research and state libraries as well as all BHL partner libraries. Loan are for in-library use only and may not be checked out to the patron.

Loans are sent to libraries via FedEx or ILDS (within Illinois). Copies are scanned and sent via email or USPS.

The following materials will not be loaned: rare books, reference, archive collections and any materials considered too large or fragile.

Schedule of fees for interlibrary loan

Inside IllinoisFreeFree
Outside Illinois$20+shipping$20 for the first 10 pages and $.25 for every page over 10

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