National Art Library: Requesting MaterialMost of our items are held in store rather than on open access and need to be requested via the Library Catalogue. You can request items either in advance of a visit, or when you are in our Reading Rooms. We recommend that you request items in advance so that you can make the best use of your time in the Library.
Most material has to be ordered online via the Library Catalogue or, for items that you cannot request through the catalogue, by using our online order and enquiry forms.
- Periodicals must be requested on blue paper request forms if you are in the Reading Rooms, or by completing an online order form in advance of your visit. We require 1 working day’s notice to process advance requests (see Periodicals requests below)
- Some collection items may be on display in galleries, on loan to exhibitions, or out to staff (status ‘Checked Out’). Please contact us or ask a member of staff for more information
- Certain Special Collection items, such as illuminated manuscripts and some artists’ books, require a written recommendation and appointment. Please send your initial request via an online enquiry form and a member of staff will contact you to discuss it further
- Blythe House material requires an appointment in advance (see Access to collections by appointment below)
- Prints & Drawings Study Room material requires an appointment in advance (see Access to collections by appointment below)
Notice of service disruptionAll items located in the National Art Library Crypt Store will be unavailable from 1 November 2014 for approximately 3 months. This is due to essential repair work required on the mechanical book storage units in this store. These items will be unavailable for request on the NAL Catalogue during this period. A complete list of pressmarks affected can be found here.
Requesting items in advance using the Library Catalogue
- Registered Readers can request 8 items in advance of visits by logging onto the Library Catalogue.
- New readers can pre-register online for a Reader Ticket to obtain a Temporary Reader number and PIN. This enables you to pre-order up to 6 items in advance of your first visit. To pre-register, go to the Library Catalogue (click on the ‘My Account’ tab and then the ‘New User / Re-Register’ button) and fill in the self-registration web form.
- Delivery times vary (see Delivery times below); some Special Collection items will only be retrieved once you are in the Library. Requests for collection items made after 16.00 will not be available until 10.30 the next working day. Some material requires prior notice of 2 working days, other material requires prior notice of 1 week
- Requested items will be reserved for you for 3 working days from date of ordering, so do not request material more than 3 working days before your intended visit. Please check our opening times.
- You can check the status of the items you have requested within the catalogue. If the status has changed from Available to Reading Room the item is ready for collection from the Library Counter or Special Collections Issue Desk. (Tip: When logged in to your account on the catalogue, use ‘My List’ to keep a record of your requested items).
Contact us to request items in advance
Where an item is NOT available for online request via the Library Catalogue, please contact us as indicated below to order items on your behalf, or to make an appointment where necessary.
Advance requests for periodicals must be received at least 1 working day before your visit. Please order using a Periodical Advance Order request form.
We require the following information to process your requests:
- Your name
- Your reader ticket number
- Date of your visit
- Full details of the item(s) (including periodical title, volume/issue number and date of publication)
- Pressmark (you will find this in the catalogue record under ‘Subscription Summary’)
We do not send confirmation responses for periodicals requested via an online enquiry form although we will contact you if we forsee any problems with your request.
Access to collections by appointment only:
- Blythe House (Archive of Art and Design)
Contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7603 7493, or Contact us online
- Blythe House (Renier Collection of Children’s Publications)
Contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7602 0281 ext. 212, or Contact us online
- Blythe House (Theatre & Performance)
Contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2698, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Prints & Drawings Study Room
Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2563
- In addition, most illuminated manuscripts and some artists books in the NAL are not normally made available without a written recommendation received and acknowledged by us. Please Contact us online in advance if you require access to this material, providing a brief explanation of your research project.
Requesting items in the Reading Rooms
You can request items from within the Reading Rooms, for delivery the same day or for a future date, by logging onto the Library Catalogue. If requesting for the same day, please note the Delivery times below as this will affect how long you will have to wait to view the items you have requested. Some material requires 2 working days’ or 1 week’s notice. Remember to logout when you have finished making requests.
Periodicals cannot be requested via the Library Catalogue and when you are in the reading rooms should be ordered using blue paper request forms available at the Library Counter.
Location of materials or pressmark
Items requested by
Available for collection by
|National Art Library ||09.00 ||10.30 |
|National Art Library||11.00 ||12.00 |
|National Art Library||12.00||13.00 |
|National Art Library||13.00 ||14.00 |
|National Art Library||14.00 ||15.00 |
|National Art Library||15.00||16.00 |
|National Art Library||16.00||17.00|
|National Art Library||16.30 (Friday only)||17.30 (Friday only)|
|38.[double letters] ||Anytime ||1 week’s notice required |
|42 ||Anytime ||1 week’s notice required |
|805.AA -AG ||Anytime || |
1 week’s notice required
|KRP Lower Office||Anytime|| 1 week’s notice required|
|Departmental Libraries||Anytime||Within 2 working days of request|
|Blythe House||By appointment||By appointment|
|Prints & Drawings Study Room||By appointment||By appointment|