How do I register as a reader?
Please make an appointment to use the Library and on your first visit, we will ask you to fill out a reader registration form and show us some photo-id (a passport, driving license or student/staff card would be ideal). Use of the Library and Archive is free of charge.
Can I order more books or files once I arrive?
Yes, you can order more books and files (no more than 10 books or 6 files at once) while you are in the Library. Please be aware that there will be a delay as the collections are scattered throughout the building. Pre-ordering is always recommended.
Can I use the Library as a quiet study space using my own materials?
Yes, if we have free desk spaces within our usual opening hours, then you are welcome to come and use the Library as a quiet study space.
Can I photograph/photocopy items from your collection and what are the costs involved?
Photography using your own camera is permitted if you fill out a Reprographics form (available at the Library counter). A daily photography permit costs £2, weekly £5.
Photocopying of printed materials is permitted at the self-service photocopier. Copies are b/w only and cost 10p for a sheet of A4 and 20p for a sheet of A3.
All photography and photocopying is at the librarians’ and archivist’s discretion and copyright regulations must be adhered to at all times.
I can’t find the book I need on your catalogue, what do I do next?
If you cannot find the book on our catalogue, then we probably don’t have it. All our printed collections are now catalogued. Other art libraries in London to try are the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes or the National Art Library at the V&A. Searching the COPAC database will you a nationwide overview of libraries that contain the book you need.
Only a few archives are listed as catalogued; what other archival materials do you have?
Uncatalogued collections include the papers of Geoffrey de Bellaigue (a decorative arts scholar & former director of the Royal Collection), Claude Blair (an arms and armour scholar), Frank Herrmann, (a publisher, author and history collecting scholar) and Anthony North (an arms and armour scholar). These and many other collections are currently uncatalogued, so please contact the library by email or phone if you’d like to view them.
What kinds of digital and microform resources do you have?
We have a number of databases related to our museum collections, available via PC or Wi-Fi in the Library: JSTOR, Art sales catalogues Online (LUGT) (1600-1900), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Art Online
We also have a number of resources on microfilm/microfiche: Sèvres Manufactory Records 1746-1801, Journal du Garde Meuble de La couronne 1666-1792 , Presens du Roy 1662-1789, Journal L'AVANT-COUREUR 3 (1760-1773), selected Phillips auction sales 1796-1849, IDC Microfiche collection of selected British and European sales from 1772-1822
Please contact us for further details.
Can I bring in a group for a tour of the Library and Archive?
Yes, the Library and Archive team are more than happy to provide tours to interested groups and/or fellow professionals. Please contact us to discuss the details of your visit.
Do you accept donations to the Library and Archive?
Yes, we are happy to accept donations if they are in line with our collection policy (they have to relate to our core museum collections). Please contact us to discuss the items you would like to donate.
Can I support the Library and Archive in any way?
Donations to the museum in general are appreciated by all departments but if you would like to contribute directly to the Library, then you may be interested in our conservation appeal, which is designed to raise money for the repair of several of our rare books. For more details, please see: Repairing our Rare Books