The Art Library acquires and researches scientific literature on the history of European art from late antiquity to the present. It also subscribes to 1,300 current international periodicals. In addition, it collects drawings and prints in the area of applied arts and it possesses a comprehensive collection of photographs.
The library offers visitors a broad range of impressive collections, including architectural and ornamental prints and drawings, the Lipperheide costume library, posters and advertisements, graphic design, book design, photographs. All items are available to visitors in the reading rooms.
Special exhibitions regularly present selections of works from the library's many collections. The neighbouring Museum of Prints and Drawings concentrates primarily on fine art drawings and prints.