The National Art Library is accessible to the public as a reference library. All material must be consulted in one of the library's reading rooms. Before you can use the library you must register as a reader. This can be done on your first visit. The library is located within the V&A.
The National Art Library Catalogue includes some 750,000 records, providing access to collections comprising more than a million items.
The online catalogue provides information about all forms of material held by the Library, both the documentary collections of literature about the arts and design, and the material, both historic and contemporary, which now forms part of the V&A Word and Image department's curatorial collections. For more information about the Library's range of collections see National Art Library Collections. Among the types of material included are:
- Exhibition catalogues
- Auction sale catalogues
- Periodicals. In addition to the NAL's own periodical collection, the catalogue includes records for many other UK libraries' holdings of art and design periodicals. The same information is also available via arlis.net, a project of the association of art and design libraries, ARLIS/UK & Ireland.
Historic Catalogues of the National Art Library
Most of the Library's older card catalogues, microfiche catalogues and handlists are now superseded by the Online Catalogue. It is recognised that regular users of the Library may be still be interested in the older catalogues, and that they are historic artefacts in their own right. For more information about them, see Historic Catalogues of the National Art Library.