Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Center
When is the Center open?
The American Center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding American and Indian holidays (PDF: 89 KB). Currently, the Center is closed because of prevailing health guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. When conditions allow, we look forward to welcoming you back to the American Center.
What are the telephone numbers for contacting the Center?
The main number for the Consulate General is 044-2857-4000. You may call our staff at the Reference Desk directly at 044-2857 4089, and the Circulation and Membership Desk at 044-2857-4223. You may also send an email to ChennaiAmCenter@state.gov.
Where is the Center located? What is the nearest bus stop or Metro?
The American Center is located at 220 Anna Salai (near Gemini Circle), Chennai 600 006. The nearest bus stop is Gemini Circle and the nearest Metro station is DMS Metro.
Do I need an appointment to visit the Center?
No prior appointment is required to visit the American Center. All visitors are requested to follow entry requirements and to show a valid photo identification (ID) at the Cathedral Road entrance. Acceptable photo IDs are a passport, driver license, voter ID card, Aadhar Card, PAN Card, government/employer issued ID, or college/university issued ID. We accept only original IDs and not photocopies.
Who all can become members of the Center?
The membership is open to anyone 16 years of age or older who is a resident of South India.
Can I visit the Center if I am not a member?
All are welcome to visit the American Center regardless of membership status. However, we encourage all regular visitors to consider becoming members.
How do I join the Center?
What are the membership fees?
The membership processing fee is ₹ 400 for one year and ₹ 700 for two years. The Institutional membership fee for non-profit Institutions is ₹ 2,000 for one year, ₹ 3,000 for two years and for for-profit Institutions membership fees are ₹ 4,000 for one year and ₹ 7,000 for two years.
How do I pay my membership fee?
The Center accepts the membership processing fee in cash or by a bank draft drawn in favor of the American Consulate General, Chennai.
How many books or magazines or DVDs can I check out at a time?
Members can borrow four books for up to four weeks, and back issues of two periodicals/magazines for two weeks. Institutions can borrow up to 20 books for four weeks and five DVDs for two weeks.
Do I have to have my card with me to check out materials?
Please bring your American Center card with you. However, if you forget your card, our staff would be glad to assist you.
What if I lose my membership card?
Report your lost or stolen membership card to the Center as soon as possible to prevent possible unauthorized use of your account. Members are responsible for all items charged to their card until its loss is reported. Staff can issue a new replacement card on your next visit to the Center. The fee for a replacement card is ₹ 25.
How much are overdue fines?
The overdue fine is one rupee (₹ 1) per item per day.
What if I lose or damage something I borrow?
If material borrowed from the American Center is lost, the replacement cost of the lost item is levied to the member. The Center cannot accept the replacement items in lieu of lost items. Items returned with damage that warrants withdrawal from the collection will be treated as lost a full replacement fee will be assessed.
The book I need is listed not in Chennai but other Centers in your catalogue? How can I access it?
We will request the item through the interlibrary loan system without any additional service charges.
I am a member of the American Center Chennai. I plan to shift to move to another region in the country. Can I use my card at other American Centers in India?
Members can use their Chennai American Center card for reading books at other Centers and use resources at other Centers if you are visiting for a short duration. However, if you plan to stay longer, please request your home center to transfer your membership to the nearest Center in your new place of residence.
Can I use my American Center card in other countries?
No, you cannot use our card in other American Centers or American Spaces outside of India.
How are the books arranged in the Center?
The books are shelved according to Dewey Decimal System. You can find the location of the books according to the decimal numbers on the spine of the books. If you have trouble finding the books you want, ask our staff for help.
Can the Center buy the book I want from United States?
Members can suggest additions to the American Center collection by email, phone, or in person. In addition, the Center can provide a listing of leading local book sellers who may be able to procure publications from the United States. Please note that the American Center does not sell books.
Do you have books for children? If yes, could we borrow them?
Yes. The American Center has a children’s corner with a wide selection of books available for borrowing.
How do I subscribe or unsubscribe to the mailing list of the American Center for information about upcoming events programs?
Can I bring my Internet enabled device or laptop to the library to access Internet services?
Electronic devices, including mobile phones, are not allowed inside the American Center. However, visitors are welcome to use the Center’s computers for internet access or for working on documents in cloud storage.
Where do I ask if I have a question?
Can someone show me how to research a topic?
Yes. Staff members at the American Center can orient you to the most relevant print and electronic resources on a wide range of topics.
What electronic resources are available to me?
The Center subscribes to online databases to help you with research requests. Please contact staff at the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk for assistance.
How do I apply for a U.S. visa?
Is there a student adviser in the Center who can provide information about higher education opportunities in the United States?
Visitors are welcome to consult directories of university and scholarship opportunities to find information that you need. To meet an education adviser, you can visit the local branch office of the United States–India Education Foundation (USIEF) located adjacent to the Center. The direct phone number for USIEF is 044-2857-4423 or 044-2857-4131 and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.