Stout Reference Library

The libraries are open to the public on Thursdays 1 - 7 pm
Please note the library will be closed on the following Thursdays, December 29 and January 5.

For appointments outside of these hours please contact:
Stout Reference library or 317-920-2647
Horticulture Society Library or 317-923-1331 x 429**

The Stout Reference Library is a non-circulating research collection that is available to IMA staff, docents, students, collectors, researchers, and community members who conduct research on IMA collections and the visual arts in general. The collection of about 100,000 volumes includes books, magazines and journals, auction catalogs, ephemera files, and museum and gallery publications from around the world. The library also subscribes to a number of electronic databases that support art historical and market research. New books are regularly added to our collection.

The library welcomes gifts and donations from members of the community on a selective basis. To find out more about the library’s collecting interests please consult our Collection Development policy.

Library Collection Development Policy

Visiting the Library

You may visit the library by making an appointment by calling the number above. Educators may arrange to bring students to the library by contacting the head librarian at least two weeks in advance at 317-920-2647.

The Stout Reference Library offers free Wi-Fi access. Two computer terminals are available to patrons conducting art research. Scanning services are available on a limited basis. Black-and-white photocopies cost 15 cents per page (10 cents for students with valid I.D.); color copies are 50 cents per page.

Reference Services

Reference librarians can provide limited assistance to patrons needing to find resources to support their art research. You can contact the library by calling 317-920-2647 or emailing In order to help you better please provide the following information to the best of your knowledge:

  • Your name and contact information.
  • The nature of your question.
  • Which, if any, resources you have already consulted.

Please be aware that we cannot answer any questions related to the value of works of art. Also, we cannot scan, photocopy, or photograph materials in our collection nor send any of these materials through the mail or via e-mail. Works of art may not be brought into the library at any time. We will try to answer your question promptly, but due to limited staff response times will vary.

Search the Catalog

Visit the Indianapolis Public Library’s website to search the holdings of the IMA Stout Reference Library. To search the IMA library holdings only, click on the "Standard Catalog" tab, choose "Keyword Search," and specify Indianapolis Museum of Art on the "Location Menu."

Search the catalog

Featured Collections

Mexican art books from the collection of Sergio Aguilera

Sergio Aguilera, former Consul of Mexico in Indianapolis and member of the IMA’s Board of Governors, donated his collection of books about Mexican art to the Stout Reference Library in 2011. Materials in the collection cover various historical periods and media with special emphasis on painting, architecture, and the decorative arts. Noteworthy are a number of leather-bound catalogues published in limited editions by BANAMEX, corporate owner of one of the most important collections of Mexican art, as well as a limited edition copy of Fray Bernardino de Sahagún’s “Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España” (1982) published in two volumes.

The Sergio Aguilera Collection

Photographic arts books from the collection of Stephen Rose

Stephen Rose donated his photography reference collection to the IMA’s Stout Reference Library in 2012. The collection focuses on the history of photography since its beginning to the late 20th Century, with a special emphasis on Pictorialism. The acquisition of Mr. Rose’s library fills a gap in our Library’s collection as the IMA Library only began collecting photographic materials in depth in the early 2000s. Mr. Rose’s photography reference collection consists of monographs, exhibition catalogues, magazines, and auction catalogues.

Chinese art books from the collection of Jim Robinson, the IMA’s Curator Emeritus of Asian Art

Jim Robinson, Curator Emeritus of Asian art at the IMA, has donated many books to the Stout Reference Library over the years. His donations include gallery and auction catalogues as well as artist monographs and reference works. The Stout Reference Library is proud to have received a copy of Umehara Sueji’s 7-volume set Shina Kodo Seikwa; or Selected Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Europe and America (1933). A more recent donation is the 2012 publication: This Single Feather of Auspicious Light: Old Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, published by Sidney L. Moss Ltd. and consisting of seven volumes, including three of plates, illustrating works of Chinese painting and calligraphy, many in life-size format.