About the National Art Library
The National Art Library is a major public reference library for the fine and decorative arts, and is the V&A's curatorial department for the art, craft and design of the book.
The National Art Library is free to join for all members of the public, on display of current ID with proof of address e.g. driving licence, passport, student card, utility bill or national identity card. This can be done in person on your first visit or online in advance. Full details can be found under Registering for a reader ticket . Please also read our Conditions of use.
Sunday and Monday closed
General and Special Collections material must be requested by 16.00 on all days
Planned Closures during 2013
Closed from 17.30 Thursday 28 March
Re-opening at 10.00 on Tuesday 2 April
May Bank Holidays
Closed from 18.30 Friday 3 May
Re-opening at 10.00 on Tuesday 7 May
Closed from 18.30 Friday 24th May
Re-opening at 10.00 on Tuesday 28 May
Closed from 17.30 Saturday 10 August
Re-opening at 10.00 on Tuesday 27 August
Closed from 17.30 Saturday 21 December
Re-opening at 10.00 on Thursday 2 January 2014
Cloakrooms and bags
Bags are not permitted in the Library. Please leave your bags in the cloakrooms at the Museum entrances. We supply clear plastic bags at the cloakrooms for you to transport essential materials, including laptops and cameras, to the Library. On leaving the Library, books and other papers are inspected by staff.
Using the National Art Library
- On arrival, please sign the Visitors’ Book and choose a numbered seat token
- You will either need to Register on arrival, or upgrade your Temporary Reader number if you have registered in advance, before you can consult collection items
- All collection items must be consulted in the Library; readers cannot borrow items from the Library
- Most of our items are held in store rather than on open access and need to be requested. We strongly recommend that readers order in advance of their visit using the Library Catalogue. Full details can be found under Requesting material. Collection from the stores is at set times during the day, and delivery times to the reading rooms will depend on where they are held and how busy the Library is.
- Our Library Catalogue of the National Art Library’s holdings is freely available for searching by author, title, subject, genre, publisher or keyword
- We provide access to a range of electronic resources including blbliographic and image databases, encyclopedias and full text journals, some of which can only be accessed in our reading rooms due to licensing restrictions
- The National Art Library offers an Enquiry Service and is part of the Inter-Library Loans (ILL) community
- We offer Group visits and Inductions to the Library
- We provide a range of Copying Services primarily for private study or non-commerial research; these include self-service photocopiers,a digital camera, camera stands for using your own camera, computer print-outs and a microform reader/printer.
- Our Study Guides provide help on researching and range of subjects including artists, auction catalogues and the history of the V&A
- Visit our NAL News page for regular updates on our collections and services
- The Library holds over 1 million items and our collections are growing all the time
- Subjects covered by the Library include those central to the work of the V&A and its collections, including: prints, drawings, paintings and photographs; furniture and woodwork; textiles, dress and fashion; ceramics and glass; metalwork; sculpture; art and design of Asia; history of the art, craft and design of the book
- We collect sale catalogues from major auction houses and exhibition catalogues from museums and galleries world-wide, with extensive historic collections
- There are extensive holdings of 20th-century artists’ books and book art
- We collect material in most Western-European and some Asian languages
- A wide range of formats is collected from manuscript material to periodicals & magazines and electronic formats
- More detailed information about the collections including our Special Collections can be found at National Art Library Book Collections
Access and facilities for readers with disabilities
The following guide describes access arrangements and services and facilities for disabled visitors to the National Art Library, the Prints & Drawings Study Room and the Blythe House Reading Room, Olympia.
How to Find us
The National Art Library is located on Level 3 of the Victoria and Albert Museum. A Museum map is avaialble at entrances or to download before of your visit.
Contact the National Art Library
National Art Library
Victoria and Albert Museum