Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an appointment to use the Library? 

 

The library is open by appointment only. Please email either mccombsd@albanyinstitute.org or shewchukd@albanyinstitute.org to schedule an appointment. Allow at least two weeks to arrange a visit.

 

Where is the Library located? 

 

The Library is located inside the Albany Institute of History & Art at 125 Washington Avenue in Albany, New York.

 

What materials may I bring into the Library during my visit?

 

There is a coat area and lockers available for your personal items behind the Museum Information Desk. Please store any food or drink items, pens, coats, bags, tobacco products, lotions, and other personal items there. We only allow laptops, cell phones, pencils, notebook paper, indoor sweaters and jackets, religious headwear and garments, and eyeglass cases. While we do allow photographs of images to be made without the use of flash, we do not allow scanners to be brought in and used. If you need photocopies or scans of materials, please let the Reference Desk staff know. If you have any further questions, or need special accommodations, please contact the Library. 

 

Where should I park? 

 

Free parking is available in the Museum parking lot for Library users on a first-come first-served basis.  The lot is located at the back of the Museum, accessible from Dove and Elk Streets. If you are unable to find parking in our lot, there are a number of paid street parking spaces available close to the Museum. 

 

Are librarians available to help me with my questions? 

 

Yes! Please contact either mccombsd@albanyinstitute.org or shewchukd@albanyinstitute.org with any questions.

 

Can I access Library resources online? 

 

Yes!  

 

Finding aids to many of our collections are located at this link. Please note that a finding aid includes a description of the records, their organization, and an inventory, but does NOT include images of the collection or items themselves. Updates to this page are made as collections are processed, and this list does not include everything we house.  

 

The Library has an online catalog. The catalogue includes the Institute’s general and special collections books and approximately 70 percent of the manuscript collections. 

 

The Library has a space on New York Heritage. While currently a small selection of digitized materials, we hope to add more in the near future! 

 

Can I borrow materials from the Library?

 

No, The Albany Institute Library is a non-lending, special collections research library. To view the collections you will need to schedule an appointment for an onsite visit.

 

Can the Library help with genealogical research?

 

Yes! We have manuscript collections, deeds and indentures, maps, books, and more that may help you with your genealogical research. Please see our list of finding aids, our online catalog, or contact us with any questions. 

 

Does the Library have exhibitions? 

 

The Library has exhibition space in the 4 cabinets in front of the library in the lobby just inside the parking area. We are working to change these out more frequently, and hope to be able to offer online exhibits soon! In addition, the Library sometimes has pop-up exhibits during free days, and these will be posted on the Museum Calendar when available. 

 

Is Wi-Fi available in the Library? 

 

Not at this time. Wi-Fi is available in the Museum lobby. Computer access with internet is available for researchers in the Library. 

 

How do I donate materials to the Library? 

 

Please contact either mccombsd@albanyinstitute.org or shewchukd@albanyinstitute.org if you have any materials you would like to donate. We do not accept drop-offs or materials mailed without prior authorization.

 

Do you have wheelchairs available? 

 

Yes! Please contact us if you have any accessibility issues, and we will make arrangements to accommodate your needs.  

 

I lost an item while at the Library. What should I do?

 

Please contact the Museum Information Desk. Any items found in the Library will be turned into Lost & Found. 

 

My appointment is at 1:00 pm. Do I have to be there at exactly that time? Can I come earlier or later? 

 

We ask that you please be courteous and keep as close to your appointed time as possible. This can be somewhat flexible; however, we ask that you contact us with any notable changes to your appointment.   

 

May I take pictures in the Library? 

 

Yes! We encourage patrons to take digital images of materials they are using in their research. Please make sure the flash is turned off.