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CLOSURE NOTICE: Monday, July 29 the SAR campus will close at 12:00 noon. The library will be closed August 1-16.

New resource! The library now has Anthrosource for online access to all journals published by the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Full access on campus only. More news…

Face masks are optional but recommended inside the library to reduce virus exposure, protect vulnerable members of our community, and help maintain staffing levels.

The Catherine McElvain Library supports the scholars, artists, staff, and members of the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This special collection focuses on anthropology, archaeology, and Native American art. 

The collection is available to the public for research and anyone who joins SAR may borrow books. For SAR members, a current membership card functions as a library card. Return books to the library during open hours or use the brown mail box outside the campus main gate.

Open by Appointment to SAR Members and Public Visitors

Please contact the library before visiting. Open hours vary with staff availability. The campus may close unexpectedly during inclement weather. Closed major holidays. Campus map with parking.

Email: library@sarsf.org     Phone: 505-954-7234

Librarian & Archivist: Katherine Wolf, MLIS

Catherine McElvain Library, photo by Jose Cruzado Coronel

Collections & Services

The online catalog provides access to approximately 10,000 books and includes lists of titles to browse on a variety of subjects. The book collection ranges from general interest titles to cutting-edge anthropological research.

Catherine McElvain Library

Staley Prize and new book shelves flank the entrance to the stacks

The library has a strong basic anthropology collection with emphasis on innovative research in the four major subdisciplines: archaeology, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. A large part of the collection is devoted to Native American history and culture, particularly the arts. The American Southwest and Mesoamerica are geographic focus areas, however there are also many ethnographies of cultures around the world. There are separate areas to browse for New Books, Staley Prize Winners, the Southwest Collection, Fiction, Oversized books, and SAR Press titles. The collection is cataloged and shelved by Dewey Decimal classification. Comments are welcome to improve organization of Indigenous subjects, with the goal of social justice.

Borrowing Privileges

Books can be checked out by the SAR community: staff, volunteers, resident fellows, senior scholars, and SAR members. Visiting scholars, independent researchers, and the general public may use materials inside the library for reference only. Library cards are not issued. Instead, the SAR membership card functions as a library card for all members and volunteers. New members may register for a library account through the online catalog. New accounts need to be verified in person by showing a photo ID and a current SAR membership card. Library accounts expire each year at the same time as the membership.

Books are loaned for 4 weeks at a time, with the option to renew. All books removed from the library must first be checked out from the librarian. There is no self check-out. The library building also contains staff offices for the Scholar Programs Division. When the building is open without the librarian present, staff and visitors may use books inside the library only.

Interlibrary loan (ILL) of books and articles from university libraries across the country is available to all resident fellows and staff. Simply email your title request directly to the librarian. For faster service, include the OCLC# from Worldcat.org. Note: SAR library books and journals do not appear in Worldcat. Please search the library catalog before requesting interlibrary loan.

SAR members may purchase interlibrary loan service as an added benefit along with their membership for an additional $50. ILL books may come from libraries within the state or from across the nation and take up to three weeks to arrive. Loan periods vary widely and are determined by the lending library. Renewals are not guaranteed. ILL books must be returned by the due date. Late returns will result in the loss of ILL privileges.