Research at the Archives

Visitors may access the library and archival collections free of charge. Please notify the archives staff at least 24 hours before your visit, and include a description of the materials you would like to view. The archivists can be reached at (202) 336-5645 or (202) 336-5640.

Space is reserved in the Arthur W. Melton Library for use of archival materials. Hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are closed on federal holidays. Because of staffing and resource constraints, we cannot accommodate visits for browsing only.

Collections Use Policy

APA reference services maintains non-circulating book and non-book materials. All materials must be used in the reading room. A considerable part of the APA archival collections is located on the twelfth floor and will require additional time for retrieval. Please call to inquire about availability.

All researchers must agree to the following rules before using materials. Failure to obey these rules may result in denial of use of the collections.

  • All researchers will register, providing a name and contact information. A valid photo ID is required to verify identity.

  • All users must sign a copy of our collections use policy, to be provided by the archives staff. Signing this document constitutes an agreement to obey all rules.

General Rules
  • No food or drinks of any kind are allowed within the APA archival collections working area or the reading room.

  • Coats and bags of any kind are to be left at the front desk. They are not allowed near the reading area.

  • Only use pencils within archival collections materials. Materials may not be removed from the public area of the archival collections except by library and archives staff.

  • Talking, including the use of cell phones, is prohibited in the reading room.

Handling Books
  • Books in protective slips should be completely removed from the slip before use.

  • The spines of books should always be kept flat on the table — never propped on anything.

  • Books with brittle spines should be reported to the librarian before use. (Some books cannot be opened all the way.)

Handling Manuscript Materials
  • Manuscript boxes should be kept on a cart close to the reading table.

  • Folders should be removed from boxes one at a time. They should be replaced with dividers to make sure they stay in order.

  • Pages that a researcher would like to mark (for photocopying, etc.) can be marked with acid-free paper strips kept at the registration desk.

  • Pages should not be folded, turned or taken out of order. Under no circumstances should Post-it notes, paper clips or anything else be attached to materials.


Circulation of library materials is restricted to APA staff.

  • A 24-hour advance notice is required to visit the archives and classic books collection.

  • APA staff can borrow books for a period of 30 days; reference titles can be borrowed for 24 hours only.

  • Journals, archival materials and classic books are available only in the reading area.

  • Journal articles can be copied or printed from e-resources.

  • Renewals are possible only for books from the circulating collection that do not have a hold placed on them.

Reference and instruction services are mainly for the staff of APA headquarters in Washington, D.C. APA members and division officers are welcome with any questions about APA history and the APA archives.

Interlibrary Loan

APA Archives and Library participates in interlibrary loan. Restrictions are applied to lending archival materials and publications covered by APA full-text electronic products. Turnaround time for processing interlibrary loan requests is 24 hours.


  • $10 per article

  • $15 per book chapter

Reproduction and Duplication Services for Archival Materials

It is possible to photocopy or digitally scan most collection material. See the policy governing use of reproductions (PDF, 8KB) for details.

All reproductions of APA archival materials must be approved and performed by the reference services staff. However, permission may be denied if the material is too fragile to reproduce, or if the material is subject to copyright restrictions.

Although staff will make every effort to ensure that copyright law is obeyed, it is the patron’s responsibility to ensure that copyright restrictions are observed. Because staff and facilities are limited, it may not be possible to provide immediate copying service, especially if large numbers of copies are requested. At the discretion of the staff, orders will be taken for later pick-up or delivery.

Researchers are allowed to take images of materials using digital, video or film cameras, as long as no flash or other extra lighting is used. APA reference services reserves to the right to regulate or prohibit researchers' photography in order to protect materials.

Permission to reproduce materials owned by APA archives should be referred to the APA archives staff.

  • Photocopies
    $15.00 fee, plus $10.00 per hour after the first hour of staff time.

  • Digital photographs
    $10.00 per photograph.

  • Low-resolution scans (400 dpi and under) 
    $1.00 per scan, plus $10 per hour after the first hour of staff time.

  • High-resolution scans (600 dpi and higher) 
    $5.00 per scan, plus $10 per hour after the first hour of staff time.

  • Audio and video dubbing
    Audio cassette tapes, video tapes, CDs and DVDs can be dubbed in-house at a price of $20 each. Other formats must be reproduced by outside service providers. APA references services will choose the provider and will charge their price, plus a 50 percent mark-up for handling. 

For visitors who are non-APA members, a fee of $0.25 per page will be charged for use of the library's copier and printer.

Copyright and Fair Use

Use of manuscripts and published materials is subject to the provisions of copyright law. Laws against libel and invasion of privacy may also apply. Patrons assume full responsibility for any legal questions that may arise as the result of their use of materials in the collections.

To cite unpublished materials:
Please provide the title and date of item, catalog number (if applicable, it will be found written on the box and folder), name of the collection and name of the repository. Example:

Preliminary Report to the President From the President's Commission on Mental Health, 1981, 300-301-13-100, Papers and Files of George Albee, PhD. APA Archives, American Psychological Association.

Document Delivery

The Archives and Library can provide photocopies of archival materials, APA journal articles and book chapters that are not among the full-text collections in PsycARTICLES®, PsycBOOKS® and PsycEXTRA®. Please check availability through one of the APA electronic products at APA databases prior to contacting library staff. The library has a small collection of other journals and books in psychology. The turnaround time for such requests is 24 hours.


  • APA members
    Article: $10 mailed/$15 faxed
    Book Chapter: $20 mailed/$25 faxed

  • Non-APA members
    Article: $15 mailed/$20 faxed
    Book Chapter: $25 mailed/$30 faxed

Reproductions Delivery

Reproductions can be picked up in person or shipped. Shipping and handling charges will be:

  • $5 per shipment for materials that can be mailed in an envelope.

  • $10 per box for materials that require packaging.

For large orders, a partial payment of 50 percent will be required in advance. Staff will provide the researcher with an estimate of costs. Once the order has been submitted, the patron will be invoiced for the remainder of the order. Once payment has been received, the order will be released to the patron or shipped, as arranged.

Digital reproductions may also be delivered electronically via web server, without shipping costs.