About the Historical Studies - Social Science Library

The Historical Studies - Social Science Library contains about 100,000 volumes and has subscriptions to about 1,000 journals. The library is strongest in classical studies, ancient history and archaeology. It also contains basic document collections, reference works, and important secondary works of scholarship in most fields of history and the social sciences. The journal collection is extensive, and fairly complete runs exist back to the founding of the Institute in 1930. Wallace K. Harrison designed the library building at the invitation of J. Robert Oppenheimer. It was completed in 1965. The library is also home to the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center, the Archives of the Institute.

Staff are pleased to assist you, please feel free to ask questions and make suggestions. We hope this document will provide a useful introduction to some of our policies and services.

Who may use the library?

Borrowing privileges are extended to Faculty, Members, Visitors, and Staff of the Institute for Advanced Study. Materials may be used in the library by spouses/companions of Institute Faculty, Members, Visitors, Staff, and Princeton University Faculty.

Study space

Reading desks are available in the library particularly for individuals who do not have offices. Please remember to sign out books placed on these tables. The HS-SS Library is part of the Institute's wireless network, access is available on both floors.

Interlibrary Loan Services

Interlibrary loan is available to Members, Visitors, Faculty and their spouses/companions. We will make all attempts to place interlibrary loan requests within the next working day after the request has been submitted. Exceptions may occur if there are long lists or for more challenging titles. Should a request take longer than nine working days to fill, we will notify the requester with an update.

The Institute is a member of the OCLC Research Library Partnership and a SHARES partner. We do not borrow from Princeton University Library through our Interlibrary Loan system and instead offer two services for locating or borrowing books from the University. Please see our services description under the section for Princeton University Library. Please do not use Princeton University's Interlibrary Loan system, requests submitted via their system will not be processed and delays may result.

What may be borrowed?

Books and bound journals circulate to offices and to campus apartments. Unbound journals do not circulate and may not be removed from the library. There is a borrowing limit of 75 volumes per user. The HS-SS Library has a limited number of microfilm readers (and one fiche reader), which may be borrowed for use in patrons' offices.

Borrowing procedures

Borrowers sign and date two book cards and place them in a slot at the circulation desk.

Photocopying Facilities

Two self-service book photocopiers/scanners and a microfilm copier/scanner are both available for use in the HS-SS Library. There are also two dedicated book scanners in the library lobby. Additional photocopiers are located at the copy center in the lower level of Building B, 2nd floor of Fuld Hall and on the first floor of the West Building.


The library staff welcomes reference queries, please contact us via phone, email, or in person via Zoom.

Computers and scanners

The HS-SS Library has computers (PC and Macs), slide scanners, microformat scanners, document scanners, and an automatic film scanner available for your use. Please see the library staff if you would like assistance with getting started. In addition, there are some databases which are only available locally through the HS-SS Library's computers, such as the Siku Quanshu.


The Institute's online catalogue address is: http://library.hs.ias.edu/, there are many links to it from the library's web pages. The online catalog contains most titles in the collection and all titles processed after 1983. All newly received books and books on order may be found in the online catalogue. New books are located in the acquisitions office and may be borrowed.

The HS-SS Library card catalogue is no longer being updated. It is organized into two parts, old and new. Our rare book holdings may be seen in the old catalog. Materials published after 1983 are listed in the new card catalogue and in the online catalogue.

Loan Period

The borrowing period is the academic year. Members must clear their borrowing records both at the Institute and at Princeton University before leaving.

Location Guide

Reference ------ Upper Level
Maps (REF) ------ Upper Level
Periodicals ------ Lower Level
A - DS90 ------ Upper Level
DS91 - N ------ Lower Level
PA ------ Upper Level
P, PB-Z------ Lower Level
Arabic ------ Lower Level, next to current periodicals
EA ------ Lower Level, next to current periodicals
Heissig ------ Lower Level past the Z classification area
ENL ------ Room adjacent to the Archival Reading Room, please see staff

Oversize are shelved on the same floors as their classification listed above. The oversize room for the main level is to the left of the main entrance. For downstairs it runs along the corridor.

Finding journals

All bound and unbound journals are arranged in alphabetical order by title on the lower level of the library. Current issues are found in the Reading Room on display shelves, please remember to lift up these shelves to find recent unbound issues. Bound volumes may be found in the compact shelving. A listing of our journals is available in paper in the library and may also be found on the Library's web page.

Princeton University Library

Members and formal Visitors, along with their partners, have access to the research collections at Princeton University Library.

Please also note: the IAS community [per the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation] may not request items through BorrowDirect. Your interlibrary loan and scanning requests will be handled by the Institute Library staff. Please use our online forms https://www.ias.edu/library/hs/ias/Firestone and https://www.ias.edu/library/hs/ias/ill

Access PUL databases and ejournals through the Institute's wired network, via Eduroam, or from off-campus via IAS' OpenVPN https://www.ias.edu/openvpn-installation-guide.

Library Services related to Princeton University Library which will save you time

Library staff go to Firestone Library on Tuesdays and Fridays. They will bring books back to the Institute campus for short term consultation or for scanning portions needed.

Staff will also scan articles and chapters for you. Each user may request up to six books and six scans each Tuesday and Friday. The form for these services is online. https://www.ias.edu/library/hs/ias/Firestone

We return books to Princeton University Library, please drop them off through the HS-SS Library book drop. Books are shipped out on Thursdays. Most loan periods extends to next June 15 and may be renewed online when your Princeton University Library account is activated. If you have a book which has been recalled we recommend that you return this yourself given the time constraints.

Princeton Theological Seminary Library

Princeton Theological Seminary Library allows access without a card or credentials. The IAS community may obtain a card to borrow books by visiting the circulation desk in their library.

Rev. 11 January 2024