Art Library Collections

Queens College Art Library holds materials dealing with all aspects of the visual arts and material culture, including art and architectural history, theory, criticism, materials, techniques, and practice.


Almost 100,000 books are located on open shelves in the Art reading room, in Reference, General, and Folio collections. Most of the books in the General collection are available for borrowing except those identified as Room Use Only books (with blue dots on spines). Reference and Folio books do not circulate. All books in the Art Library are classified in the Fine Arts section of the Library of Congress classification system:

  • N — visual arts in general
  • NA — architecture
  • NB — sculpture
  • NC — drawing, design, illustration
  • ND — painting
  • NE — print media
  • NK — decorative arts
  • NX — arts in general


The Art Library currently subscribes to approximately 100 journal titles in print and many more electronically, and holds over 6,000 bound periodical volumes. All periodicals, including their call numbers and physical location, can be found in CUNY Catalog. They are located in the Periodicals alcove of the Art Library, where bound issues are shelved by the Library of Congress classification system and the current issues are shelved alphabetically by title, to allow for easy browsing. Some back issues of periodicals are on microfiche or microfilm (indicated by an MF or MC ahead of the call number) and are located in the Multimedia Commons on Level 1. Annuals and irregular serials, which technically are not periodicals, are shelved with books. Periodicals and all serials, regardless of format, do not circulate.


The Art Library small reference section is located near the entrance and contains dictionaries and encyclopedias, directories, bibliographies, indexes, catalogs and other materials for quick fact checking in all aspects of the visual arts. All Art Reference materials are identified by an R or Ref preceding the call number. They do not circulate.

Index & Abstracts

Printed indexes and abstracts in hard copy are housed on tables adjacent to Art Reference. They do not circulate and the vast majority is available in current editions online. At the head of the tables are located the printed editions of The Dictionary of Art (1996), whose current edition is available online, and several subject and language dictionaries.


Art materials that are placed on reserve for specific courses are available through Reserve in the Rosenthal Library.


This vertical-file collection in the Art Library reading room holds over 50,000 pamphlets on all art subjects, including many exhibition catalogs and also some clippings. They are arranged by subject (e.g., Art Deco; Textiles) or artist’s last name (e.g., Rubens, Warhol). All pamphlets may be borrowed at Art service desk. Like books and pictures, they are checked out for three weeks to students and may be renewed once. There is no limit on the number of items that each patron may take out at a time.


More than 60,000 mounted reproductions of artworks are arranged by medium in vertical files in the Art Library reading room. Pictures are filed A-Z by MEDIUM (e.g., Painting), then subdivided geographically by COUNTRY (e.g., United States), or CIVILIZATION, then chronologically by CENTURY (e.g., 20th century), or period (e.g. Gothic), and then, if applicable, by ARTIST (e.g., Hopper). To locate an artist, look in the wooden drawers on top of the first Pictures cabinet (1–4, labeled PICTURE COLLECTION — ARTISTS) under the artist’s last name.


  • A painting by Vincent van Gogh will be found under: PAINTING — DUTCH — 19TH CENTURY — GOGH, VINCENT VAN
  • A picture of the Colosseum in Rome will be found under: ARCHITECTURE — ROMAN — ITALY
  • Pictures of famous people will be found under: PORTRAITS

To locate a particular type of artwork, look in drawers 5–6 on top of cabinet (labeled PICTURE COLLECTION – SUBJECT HEADINGS). The subject heading will direct you to the appropriate MEDIUM or category of ARTWORK.


  • African masks from Mali will be found under: MASKS — AFRICA — MALI
  • A stained glass window from Chartres Cathedral will be found under: GLASS, STAINED — FRANCE

All pictures may be borrowed at the Art service desk. Like books and pamphlets, they are checked out for three weeks to students and may be renewed once. There is no limit on the number of items that each patron may take out at a time.


Art microfiche, microfilm and microcards are available through the Rosenthal Library Multimedia Commons on Level 1. They include back issues of periodicals, doctoral dissertations, exhibition catalogs and documentation (such as the Venice Biennale of 1895–1978 and various gallery and exhibition catalogs of the 20th century), image collections (such as medieval manuscript illumination), library catalogs, art historical and theoretical treatises, and other miscellaneous items. All microform materials are indicated by an MF or MC ahead of the call number.

Special Collections & Rare Books

Special and rare books and fragile art materials, as well as Queens College’s M.A. theses in art history, are shelved in closed stacks and are indicated in the catalog by ART X in the call number. Materials are available for on-site consultation. Inquire at the Art service desk for assistance. Additional special collections, such as private papers and other archival material are housed in the Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives.

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