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National Art Library Copying Services

The National Art Library offers copying services primarily for the purposes of research or private study. Copying is subject to UK copyright legislation and our preservation policy and restrictions. Specific conditions apply to copying for commercial purposes and to photography for publication.

Self-service facilities in our Reading Rooms

We do not offer a print out facility in the Library; all copies are saved in digital format. Please check with staff before copying items from the Special Collections. Please also refer to our Preservation policy below.

  • Self-service book scanners are available providing black & white and colour copies. Scanned copies are free and need to be saved to your own USB memory stick, or from one purchased from the Library Counter. During busy periods your time on the scanners may be limited to 20 minutes.
  • Readers may also copy material using their own camera at camera stands provided in our Reading Rooms. We do not allow the use of flash or other artifical lights because high levels of light can be damaging to books, as well as distracting to other readers.
  • Microforms can be copied to USB memory stick, using the digital microform scanner and the ‘Capture perfect’ software on the adjacent PC. Ask at the Library Counter for assistance, or you can view this useful tutorial on YouTube
  • Readers are advised to check that their scans have been successfully saved to USB memory stick before leaving the Reading Rooms as files are not saved and cannot be retrieved later.

Copying services are available until 15 minutes before the Library closes.

Preserving the collections

Book supports and weights are provided at the scanners and camera stands and should be used whenever making copies. Please take particular care when copying from the following categories of material:

  • Material in our Special Collections
  • Books published before 1900
  • Periodicals published before 1920
  • Fragile or damaged material with loose or brittle spines and pages
  • Tightly-bound material
  • Fold out plans, illustrations, etc.
  • Anything too heavy or large to move without putting strain on the binding

Copyright regulations

You may make a print or digital copy of anything in copyright (the amount must be ‘fair and justifiable’) for:

Non commercial

  • Private study or research

  • Illustration for instruction or teaching

And for

  • Quoting from a work
  • Caricature, parody or pastiche
  • News reporting, except for photographs

You may only

  • Make a single copy of a “reasonable” proportion of a published work (up to 5% of a published work, or one chapter of a book could possibly be reasonable)
  • Copy one article from an issue of a periodical
  • Make a single copy of the whole of an unpublished work, unless prohibited by a rights holder

You must not

  • Reproduce the copy, sell it or share it online

You must

  • Acknowledge the source where reasonably practical

Disabled users

  • Disabled users may make an accessible copy in any format unless already commercially available

Copying for commercial purposes

Anyone wishing to carry out copying for commercial research should discuss this with a member of staff as it may be necessary to purchase a Copyright Licence sticker. These cost £9 (including VAT) per item and are available at the Counter.

Further information can be found on the Copyright Licencing Agency website in their leaflet: CLA Sticker Scheme

Photography for publication

Photographs intended for publication or reproduction of any kind can only be supplied by the V&A Images team:

V&A Images

Email: vaimages@vam.ac.uk or go to Finding & buying images

Under no circumstances may photographs or scans previously taken by a reader for their own research or private study be published.

Ordering copies online or by post

If you are unable to visit the Library in person, you may order copies online or by post.

We provide digital scanned copies on a single page basis or double page spread as appropriate in accordance with our preservation policy. Staff will decide the best copying method to preserve the collections but will supply the most economic option wherever possible. Customers are charged per image provided.

For in copyright works, a copyright declaration statement will be sent to you. This must be printed out, signed and returned, either by post or scanned and returned by email, before the copies can be made.

Our standard turnaround time is two weeks.

Price (net)
Total price
Scans, black & white or colour

We provide digital scanned copies (200dpi)

£1.00 per image

There is an additional administration charge of £15.00 +VAT for online and postal orders

Copying entire books is quoted on an individual basis

Copies are sent as PDF files by email or as print outs by post


* There is a maximum number of 5 items per order

Under no circumstances may images supplied by this service be published. If you would like to order images for publication contact:  vaimages@vam.ac.uk

Paying for online or postal orders

You will be invoiced for the cost of your order. Payment must be made by cheque, money order or BACS. Cheques must be in pounds sterling and drawn on a UK bank, made payable to the 'Victoria and Albert Museum' and crossed 'A/C Payee Only'. Full details of payment instructions are contained in the invoice.

Ordering copies

To order copies online please complete the Reprographics Request online order form

or send your request to:

Reprographics Service
National Art Library
Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road

National Art Library opening times

The National Art Library opening times are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday: 10.00 – 17.30 and Friday: 10.00 – 18.30.  It is closed on Mondays and Sundays.

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