Reading Room

The Lilly Library Reading Room is a center for discovery for researchers of all kinds. The room is home to a cycle of inspirational murals by artist Ralph Gilbert.

To use the Reading Room make an appointment at least two weeks before you would like to visit.

You’ll want to start by setting up an account in the Lilly Library Request System. Then, select books, manuscripts or other items to view. 

  • Books and published materials: Use IUCAT to select your items directly from the catalog listing using the Lilly Library: Request This button. 
  • Manuscripts and archival materials: Use Archives Online to make your selection. Click Request in the View Options on the menu on the left. On the next page, select the checkboxes for your desired items, then click Submit Request at the bottom. 
  • Materials not listed online: Use the manual request forms for Published Materials or Manuscript/Archive Materials. 

Registering for an account will streamline future tasks for you, such as requesting photocopies and images of Lilly Library materials and accessing your past requests. 

Remember that, even as an account-holder, you are required to show a photo ID when you arrive to use the Reading Room. 

Your materials will be ready for you at the Reading Room desk when you arrive for your visit. You may use the items one at a time and only in the room. If these are items you may use again in the near future, we can hold these items on reserve for you. 

The Lilly Library Reading Room has a set of policies you may not find in other libraries. Because of the nature of our rare and sometimes fragile collections, we count on our patrons to handle such items with care. 

Loose articles of clothing, brief cases, book bags or other personal property not essential to research are not allowed. We have lockers for you to store such items while you are in the room. 

You may bring books and papers, as well as laptops, though cases and nonessential accessories are not allowed. You may use digital cameras only with permission. 

We do not allow food, beverages or tobacco products in the Reading Room. 

You may use only pencils to write in the Reading Room. You are not allowed to make any marks on materials, erase anything, or make tracings or rubbings without specific permission. 

You may borrow our special lights and magnifiers. 

All items must remain on Reading Room tables during use. Keep arms and elbows off materials, and do not place books or other objects on these items. 

Request permission if you need to use more than one of your materials at a time. To preserve arrangement and order, remove only one manuscript at a time for folders. If you see unopened leaves of books or notice other irregularities, ask staff for assistance. 

Handle with care: We ask patrons to treasure our items as we do. Handle materials with clean hands, turn pages slowly and carefully, and touch only the margins. Borrow our gloves to wear when handling photographs or other fragile materials.