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National Libraries Week: Art Libraries

As part of our celebrations of National Libraries week we will be highlighting a specialist library in London everyday this week.

National Art Library

National Art Library
Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 2RL

The National Art Library

The National Art Library is located in the V&A Museum in South Kensington. Its vast reference collection of over 1 million items covers fine and decorative arts of many countries and periods. Anyone can use the collections and view them in their beautiful reading rooms.


The collection covers subjects including; print, drawing, painting and photography; furniture and woodwork; textiles, dress and fashion; ceramics and glass; metalwork; sculpture; art and design of Asia, and history of the art, craft and design of the book. They also have a wealth of sale and auction catalogues which may be tricky to find elsewhere.

The National Art Library also has unique special collections including an impressive selection of artist’s books and examples of fine binding and printing. The Library also offers a helpful enquiry service.


Before you can use the Library you must register as a Reader, which means you will need to bring a proof of identification (e.g. your student card) and proof of address (e.g. a utility bill). See Registering for a Reader Ticket for more information.

Books need to be requested in advance through the catalogue so that they can be retrieved from the stores in time for your visit. You can pre-register online before visiting and make requests. You can also request books when at the library but you will have to wait for their hourly retrievals.


Opening Hours

Tuesday    10.00–17.30
Wednesday    10.00–17.30
Thursday    10.00–17.30
Friday    10.00–18.30
Saturday   10.00–17.30

Sunday and Monday   closed

General and Special Collections material must be requested by 16.00 on all days

For more information on visiting please see About the National Art Library.

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