The ISAW Library is an original part of the Institute's foundation in 2006, with the gift of several book collections by the Leon Levy Foundation to form the core of its initial holdings. Since that time, the ISAW Library has grown to more than 50,000 items, spanning the sweep of the ancient Eurasian world, from the western Mediterranean, across the Near East and Central Asia, to northern China. Currently, the entire collection is housed on three floors of stacks and reading rooms at the back of the historic mansion that houses the Institute at 15 East 84th Street.

The  mission of the ISAW Library is to build and serve a flexible, integrated, multidisciplinary, multi-channeled knowledge base for ancient studies at ISAW and beyond. In practice, this means that we strive to

  • build and maintain a core collections representing the various disciplines within ISAW’s academic scope;
  • build research capacity in areas of the ancient world not well represented in NYU partner libraries or other institutions in the metropolitan area, such as the American Numismatic Society, Columbia University, and the Watson Library in the Metropolitan Museum;
  • partner with other departments, organizations, and institutions to implement digital projects that increase access, discoverability, and intellectual and pedagogical quality of scholarship on the ancient world; and
  • promote research, teaching, and scholarly communication about the ancient world through a variety of publication projects, instruction, and public programming.

For more information about the history of the collection and the principles we follow in making acquisitions and accepting donations, please see our collection guidelines.

Our staff is deeply engaged in current research and teaching in ancient studies, as well as the evolving role of research libraries in the 21st century. Our website is designed to help you find resources and use the ISAW Library, but we would very much like to hear from you if you need help or have a suggestion as to how we might better serve our mission.

You may follow our projects and progress by ISAW Library Blog, the ISAW Library Facebook page, and Twitter @ISAWLib