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About the Field Museum Library

Marie Louise Rosenthal Library of the Field Museum

About the Field Museum Library

Mission Statement

The Field Museum Library is committed to supporting the Museum’s mission as an educational and research institution concerned with diversity and relationships in nature and among cultures.  We seek to provide convenient and effective access to quality library services, research collections and information resources to meet the scientific, professional, and creative needs of the research and educational communities.


Since its inception in 1894, The Field Museum's Marie Louise Rosenthal Library has served the research and education needs of Museum scientists, students, patrons, partners, and visitors. The formation of the Library's collections, their rapid growth in the Museum's first decades, and their continuing development are the result of the cooperative endeavors of many organizations and institutions, private donors and collectors, and the Museum's administrators, scientific staff and librarians, over the last 125-plus years. The strengths of the Library collections closely parallel the strengths of the Museum’s scientific collections in the fields of anthropology, botany, geology, paleontology and zoology. The collections emphasize biological systematics, evolutionary biology, geology, archaeology, ethnology and material culture.

Women viewing cherry blossoms, woodblock print triptych. Late 19th century. Purchased in Tokyo by Berthold Laufer, Blackstone Expedition, 1910 Courtesy of: J. Weinstein. (c) Field Museum of Natural History. Catalog number 119485 and ID number A112784c.

Planning Your Visit

The Marie Louise Rosenthal Library serves Museum staff, visiting scholars, and the public. The Main Library is located in a non-public area on the Field Museum's third floor. Visitors must request an appointment for Tuesday–Friday from 1 to 4PM and at least 48 hours in advance by emailing

For World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 researchers: a comprehensive inventory of materials and collections in the Library is available. Whenever possible, please review these holdings prior to making research requests.

As the Library's collections do circulate in the museum among staff, it is essential that you check our online catalog and submit a list of titles you wish to view before visiting the Library. Please check our online catalog to begin your research and view the Library's particular holdings. All collections are located in closed stacks. Visitors must submit a request for material to the staff member on duty for retrieval and use in the Reading Room.

Due to the importance of the items brought here, the Reading Room is equipped with security cameras. Please refer to specific policies for using materials from the Rare Book Room and the Museum Archives.

Visitors with appointments must register with Protection Services at the West Entrance and receive a Visitor Pass to visit the Library. Protection Services will notify the Reference Desk (x7887) and a library staff member will escort visitors to the Library. If you are only visiting the library, you do not have to pay admission to the museum. Find more detailed travel information, refer to our directions and parking page.