Skip to Main Content

New York Library Home Page

Summon     Catalogue     EResources     Ebooks     Guides     RefWorks     WorldCat     Digital Commons    Journals   FAQs     Login

New York Area Libraries

Sotheby's Institute of Art students have access to some of the top art research centers in the country. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these world-class collections and resources.  Among the many important research libraries in New York are the following:

New York Public Library (Open freely to anyone with a library card)

Watson Library (Metropolitan Museum of Art) (Open by appointment)

Frick Art Reference Library (Open by appointment)

Museum of Modern Art Library (Open by appointment)

Additionally, the SIA-NY Library is a member of the Metropolitan New York Library Council and can refer students to almost all of the area research libraries if material is not available elsewhere.  You must consult one of the librarians obtain a Metro referral:

Metro Passes


New York Public Library – Steven A. Schwarzman Building

Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street (map) - (917) 275-6975 

NYPL website
NYPL Art & Architecture Collection webpage
NYPL online catalogue

Schwarzman Building Research Library
Art & Architecture Research Collection
Also of note:
Mid-Manhattan Branch

Access: Appointments may be necessary for some of the specialized research collections but in general they are not needed. An NYPL library card is not required for entry. 

Advance requests: An NYPL library card is required to request both on- and off-site material in advance. Information for requesting on-site material is available on the Advance Request Services page. For material in the Art & Architecture Collection, advance requests can be sent by email to: Material that is housed off-site may be requested using the "Request from Offsite" form available in the item record in the online catalogue. 

The New York Public Library, the largest public library system, has four specialized research libraries with non-circulating material in closed stacks (material must be paged) and many more branch libraries with circulating collections in open stacks. The Schwarzman Building houses the Humanities research collection and includes the Art & Architecture Research Collection. The Mid-Manhattan branch library has a large circulating art section. The Terence Cardinal Cooke-Cathedral branch is the closest to the Institute located on the same block at 560 Lexington Ave. 

NYPL offers remote access to over 100 subscription databases. You will need to enter your NYPL card barcode for access. An electronic document delivery service allows NYPL card holders to request scans of up to 50 pages from books held off-site. For more information see the Electronic Delivery section. 

Please Note: 
Large bags and parcels must be checked at the Checkroom. More restrictions may apply for the individual research collections.

Metropolitan Museum of Art – Watson Library

1000 Fifth Avenue (map) - (212) 570-3739 or (212) 650-2344

Watson Library website
Watson Library online catalogue (WATSONLINE)

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday:10:00am-5:00pm. Saturday:10:00am-4:00pm. Please note that new visitors may not register for reading privileges on Saturdays. Books will be paged until 1.30pm and reference service is available until 2pm on Saturdays. More information.

Access: Appointments are not necessary. Reading privileges are available for Sotheby's Institute students. The library offers online registration. Begin the Reader Card registration process online, to complete the process show photo ID at the Watson Library registration desk. You may begin using the online request feature (see below) immediately after registering.

Advance requests: Up to 10 items at a time may be requested in advance using the REQUEST button in the item record in the Watson Library online catalogue (WATSONLINE). The last six digits of your Reader Card barcode will be required. Items will be held in open shelves in the Reference Room for up to one week.

The Thomas J Watson Library is a world-renowned research collection with over 700,000 volumes serving as the Metropolitan Museum of Art's central research library. The collection has an emphasis on European and American art, architecture and decorative arts as well as ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, Green and Roman, Asian and Islamic art but also includes one of the city's largest collections addressing contemporary art. 

The Watson library has a large reading room with wireless access, as well as four computer work stations for research purposes. 
The Hazen Center for Electronic Resources at the Met offers qualified researchers access to an extensive list of online resources. Researchers can access the library's subscription databases while onsite.
Other services include four book scanning stations, one on one reference assistance with in depth research questions.

Please Note: 
All visitors to the Watson Library must check their personal belongings before entering the reading room. Researchers my lock their items in lockers available within the entrance of the library. There is no food or drink permitted in the library.

Frick Art Reference Library

10 East 71st St.  (map) - (212) 547-0641

Frick Library website
Frick Library online catalogue (FRESCO)

Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10am – 6pm, closed Sunday and Monday. Appointments are not necessary with a researcher card.

Access: Appointments are not necessary. Sotheby's Institute of Art students may apply for researcher cards for use of the library resources.

Advance requests: available for registered researcher card holders and placed through the online catalogue. 

The Frick Art Reference Library's book and photograph research collections relate chiefly to paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints from the fourth to the mid-twentieth centuries by European and American artists.

Services offered include reference, database access and resource sharing. Please click a link or visit the library's website for more information on these services. You may also hold books you are using at the library for 7 days. The library also offers wireless access throughout the building and registered researchers may access the library's subscription databases while onsite. View the library's list of subscription databases here: subscription databases.

Please Note: 
All visitors to the Frick Art Reference Library must check their personal belongings before entering the reading room. There is no food or drink permitted in the library.

Museum of Modern Art Library

4 E 54th St (map) - (212) 708-9433
45-20 33rd Street, Queens (map) - (212) 708-9433

MoMA Library website
MoMA Library online catalogue
The MoMA research libraries are in two locations with the collection split between them: 
Manhattan - books published after 1939, most Special Collections, most MoMA publications and some current periodical issues
Queens - books published before 1940, bound periodicals, the rest of the current periodical issues, small exhibition catalogues and most files
Hours: The Archives reading room will be open on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, from 1:00-5:00 p.m., by appointment. The Library reading room will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., also by appointment. We ask that you request appointments via the appropriate online form.

Access: Sign up for a MoMA Manhattan branch library card when you visit. On further visits, show your library card at the reception desk to receive an elevator pass to the library. Appointments are required. We suggest making your appointment 1 week in advance for Queens. The telephone number for making appointments is: 212.708.9433.

Advance requests: available for registered researcher card holders and placed through the online catalogue.

The Museum Library is a comprehensive collection devoted to modern and contemporary art. The noncirculating collection documents painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, photography, architecture, design, performance, video, film, and emerging art forms from 1880 to the present. The Library's holdings include approximately 300,000 books and exhibition catalogues, 300 periodical subscriptions, and over 40,000 vertical files of announcements and ephemera about individual artists.

Scanners, photocopiers and a digital camera are available for researcher use. Wi-fi is available. 

Please Note: 
Lockers are available to store material not permitted in the reading room. Food and drink are not permitted in the library.

METRO Passes

The SIA-NY library is a member of the METRO New York Libraries Council. As a member, our students and faculty can get access to material in libraries usually closed to the public. Below are the steps for requesting METRO passes for such material

1. Is the resource available at another local library that is open to the public such as NYPL, the MoMA library or the Watson library at the Met? If it is, students should consult the material there. To find out what other local libraries hold an item consult

2. Check with an SIA-NY librarian to see if the library that holds the item is also a METRO member. If the library is not a member, the SIA-NY librarians will not be able to issue a METRO pass but we can try to arrange access with the holding library.

3. If the library is a member, send the librarians an email with the name of the library and the following information:


  • title
  • author
  • publisher
  • year of publication
  • library that holds the item


  • title of periodical
  • title of article
  • author of article
  • volume #, issue #, date of article and page #s

4. The SIA-NY librarian will fill out a METRO pass card for you to take to the holding library.

5. Be sure to consult the holding library's website to confirm their visitor hours.

NOTE: the METRO pass entitles you to consult the item listed on the pass. It does not necessarily grant free access to the holding library and it's resources.

Creative Commons License
All Library Guides by Sotheby's Institute of Art New York Library are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. 3rd-party content including, but not limited to images and linked items, are subject to their own license terms.