The Blegen Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens was founded in 1888 with a single reading room. An initial addition to the library was dedicated in 1915, and, in 1959, a new wing was added, funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation. A further extension, partially funded by the United States Agency for International Development, was completed in 1991, effectively doubling the space of the library.
The collection currently has nearly 113,000 volumes including about seven hundred periodical titles (current and defunct), forming a major research library on prehistoric and classical archaeology of the Mediterranean region, and classical languages, history, and culture. About 2000 readers of all nationalities use the library. The library is non-circulating, and all books must be consulted on the premises. See Access and Hours for information about using the Blegen Library.
The library welcomes gifts of books, journals or offprints. Gifts are accepted with the understanding that the library will make all decisions regarding their retention, location, cataloging, or any other consideration relating to their use. A letter from the library will be sent to acknowledge all gifts. Gifts may be added to the collection, donated to another library, or sold with the proceeds to benefit the Blegen Library.
Books in the Blegen Library are classified according to a Classification system developed in 1903 by the director T. W. Heermance. A relatively complete list of the letter designations used can be viewed on the linked page. An analysis of the classification scheme by former Head Librarian Camill MacKay was published in Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, Vol. 36(2) 2003: Classification of a Classical Studies Library in Greece and the Changing Nature of Classical Scholarshipin the Twentieth Century. It is made available here with the kind permission of the author and the publisher.