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Interlibrary Loan Policies and Frequently Asked Questions

Who may use Interlibrary Loan at the National Gallery of Art?
I am new to ILL at the Gallery. How do I get started?
Does the library provide wireless internet access in the reading room?

May I borrow books through interlibrary loan?
May I read  books classified as “rare” in the library?
May I take photographs or make digital scans in the library? Do you have a copystand?
How can I find information about an artist?
I have a course assignment to write about a work of art. Can you help?
How can I learn more about an object in the National Gallery of Art?
Where can I find reproductions of works of art on the Web?
Where can I buy a poster or postcard of a work of art?
Can I get a  copy of, or permission to reproduce, an image owned by the National Gallery of Art?
Where can I find out who holds the copyright of the work of a particular artist?
Where can I get a transcript or a DVD of the 2003 A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts by Kirk Varnedoe?
Where can I find information about art and art history on the web?
Can someone help me estimate the value of a work of art?
Can someone at the Gallery authenticate a work of art that I own?
How can I get advice on repairing or conserving a work of art?
Does the library have pictures of works of art?
How can I learn more about the history of National Gallery of Art—the buildings, exhibitions, and permanent collections?
Does the library offer internships or volunteer opportunities?
Does the library present exhibitions of books?

May I suggest or offer a book to add to the library collection?
May I make a donation to the library?
I still have a question. How can I contact the National Gallery of Art Library?

Who may use Interlibrary Loan at the National Gallery of Art?  top

The Interlibrary Loan office provides assistance in locating and borrowing materials from other libraries for National Gallery of Art staff, fellows, and interns. The Library uses ILLiad, an electronic system you use to request an item through interlibrary loan.

I am new to ILL at the Gallery. How do I get started? top

You can get articles, books, and other materials not available at the Library in three easy steps.

1. Login to the ILL system using your Gallery username and password.
2. Fill out our short registration form.
3. Fill out a request form and the ILL staff will take care of the rest. You will be notified when the item is available.

Books are usually available for pick up at EB-115 within 5-7 business days, and may be used for 4-6 weeks. Articles are usually available for download within 2-5 business days. Unusual or overseas requests may take 3-7 weeks to complete.
 
Books borrowed through ILL must remain on Gallery premises. Do not use sticky notes or paper clips to mark pages. Refrain from eating or drinking around ILL books. The lender may impose other conditions on the use of their materials, such as no photocopying or no renewals, which will be noted on the book flag. Use is occasionally restricted to the reading room.

Questions? Contact the ILL staff at [email protected] or (202) 842-6512.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about ILL? top

Contact the ILL staff by e-mail at [email protected], by phone at (202) 842-6512 or in person at EB-115 Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. – 5:30 P.M.

Jacqueline Protka, Reference Librarian for Interlibrary Loan, x6512
Faye Karas, Interlibrary Loan Assistant, x6835

How do I log into my ILL account? top

Login to the ILL system from the Staff link in Mercury using your Gallery username and password. If it is your first ILL request, you will need to fill out a short registration form before you get started.

 

How do I make an ILL request? top

Check the NGA Library online catalog, Mercury, to be sure the Library does not own the item. For items under 50 pages, check the Vertical Files.

Further database searching is not required, but Firstsearch/Worldcat, EBSCO, and ProQuest search results allow for easy transfer of data into the ILL request form by using the "Interlibrary Loan" link within a result record.

             

   

Alternatively, start with a blank online form by logging in to the ILL system from the Staff link in Mercury using your Gallery username and password. If it is your first ILL request, you will be prompted to fill out a short registration form before you get started. Under “New Request,” select the appropriate form for a book, article, or other type of request, and fill in the appropriate information. Click “Submit.”
 
Urgent requests, such as a publication deadline this week, should be brought to the attention of the ILL staff in person.

ILL staff members will search to fill requests, starting with the Library of Congress. If an item is not available from the Library of Congress, we will request it from other libraries across the country, and from abroad when necessary.

Books are usually available for pick up in 5-7 business days. Articles are usually available for download in 2-5 business days. Unusual or overseas requests may take weeks or months to complete. Our staff will pursue an ILL book or copy until it has been requested from all lending libraries known to hold it.
 
If you no longer need an item, please cancel the request yourself in your ILL account, or inform ILL staff that you would like to have the request cancelled.

When we receive your item, we will send you an e-mail message. In the meantime, you can track the status of your request in your ILL account.

Questions? Contact the Interlibrary Loan staff in EB-115 at [email protected] or x6512.

Are there any rules or restrictions on using ILL books? top

Our ability to borrow from other libraries is dependent upon our compliance with their loan restrictions, and we require that you observe their instructions, including due dates.

Books borrowed through ILL must remain on Gallery premises. Do not use sticky notes or paper clips to mark pages. Refrain from eating or drinking around ILL books. The lender may impose other conditions on the use of their materials, such as no photocopying or no renewals, which will be noted on the book flag. Use is occasionally restricted to the reading room.
 
At the time of your departure from NGA, as part of your check-out procedure, you will be given a “sign-out sheet” to present to the ILL staff. This will allow us to confirm that all of your borrowed material has been returned. Interns may consult ILL staff about transferring requests to supervisors. You must consult with the ILL staff before leaving NGA, even if your ILL account shows no charges.

May I take ILL books out of the Library? top

Books borrowed through ILL must remain on Gallery premises. No exceptions.

May I take photographs or make digital scans in the library?  top   

The National Gallery of Art does not permit the use of cameras or other photographic devices in the Study Center. Consult the library's head of reader services to arrange for scans or to have photographs taken of books.

What can I order on ILL? top

Rare books
Early imprints
Manuscripts
Manuscript facsimile editions
Artists’ books
Loose photographs or prints
Large folios
Fragile items (age or material)
Complete serial issues or volumes
Complete newspaper issues or volumes
Multi-volume sets
Reference books
Audio/visual material
   

Individual libraries may restrict specific materials, for instance Harvard and Columbia do not lend art books; the Library of Congress does not lend music, maps, genealogical material, or items from select collections such as the Asian Reading Room. 

Can I order something already owned by NGA? top

Our Circulation staff will tell you who has an item checked out, and will help you broker an arrangement to share. If an arrangement cannot be reached, or if an item is missing from the shelf, we will consider borrowing a second copy.

Is there a limit to how many requests I can submit? top  

You may have 20 active requests at any time. A request is “active” from the point of submission until you have downloaded an article or a book has been processed as returned to the ILL office. If you have questions, please contact an ILL staff member ([email protected], x6512).

How long does it take to receive my ILL material? top  

The ILL staff aims to process requests within 2 working days. Once we process the request, the time required to receive it depends upon the lending library. Books are usually available for pick up within 5-7 business days. Articles are usually available for download within 2-5 business days. Unusual or overseas requests may take weeks or months to complete. Our staff will pursue an ILL book or copy until it has been requested from all lending libraries known to hold it. You may track the status of your request in your ILL account.

Be aware that some holiday periods have predictably slower service than usual. Many libraries suspend ILL services during the week of Thanksgiving and between Christmas and New Year; European libraries may be closed the entire month of August.

How will I receive my ILL items? top

Many sites on the internet offer posters and postcards for sale. We recommend you use a search engine, with the name of the artist’s and title of the work in question.

For reproductions on paper of works in the National Gallery of Art, please contact the Gallery Shop.

Can I get a copy of, or permission to reproduce, an image owned by the National Gallery of Art? top

To obtain a photograph of, or the rights to reproduce, an image owned by the National Gallery of Art, contact the Division of Visual Services. For images or pages of text from books in the library, contact the library.

Where can I find out who holds the copyright of the work of a particular artist? top

Information can be found online to help answer questions on copyright for specific artists. Use a search engine on terms such as the artist's  name and the word “copyright.”

The library has directories of artists and their representatives in the United States. Call the reference desk for information on (202) 842-6511.

Where can I get a transcript or a DVD of the 2003 A. W. Mellon Lectures in the fine arts by Kirk Varnedoe? top

The lectures were published in book form by Princeton University Press (Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, 2006). The volume is for sale in the National Gallery of Art Shop. Gallery Archives can make appointments for visitors to review a video recording of the 2003 lectures. Contact the archives for an appointment. An audio podcast is available on the National Gallery of Art website.

Where can I find information about art and art history on the web? top

Along with careful search engine queries, readers can use web directories and portals to explore resources on the web. See the directory of web resources for suggested sites.

Can someone help me estimate the value of a work of art? top

National professional associations such as the American Society of Appraisers, International Society of Appraisers, and Appraisers Association of America can help identify suitable local appraisers and provide information about their members’ level of training as well as definitions of “appraisal” and “authentication.” A researcher can then contact specific appraisers to ascertain expertise, experience, and fees and to request a portfolio containing qualifications. Although an initial discussion may be complimentary, appraisers charge for consultation, travel, photography, and time.

The online Encyclopedia Smithsonian presents information on appraisals, as does the Art Dealers Association of America.

Can someone at the National Gallery of Art authenticate a work of art that I own? top

Authentication usually requires first-hand examination. We urge you to consult dealers or appraisers in your area or to contact auction houses for advice appropriate to the object itself.

How can I get advice on repairing or conserving a work of art? top

We recommend contacting the American Institute for Conservation. The AIC website presents guides to solving conservation problems and choosing a local conservator. The Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Conservation Institute addresses many types of objects.

Does the library have pictures of works of art? top

The library’s image collections contain more than 14 million images for examination and comparison.

How can I learn more about the history of the National Gallery of Art—the buildings, exhibitions, and permanent collections? top

A timeline of highlights in the Gallery’s history and a record of past exhibitions can be found on the National Gallery of Art website.

An introduction to the history of the Gallery, America’s National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation, by Philip Kopper, is available in public libraries and the Gallery Shop as well in as the National Gallery of Art Library.

Gallery Archives, which preserves the papers and records of the Gallery from its inception, may be visited by appointment.

Does the National Gallery of Art Library offer internships or volunteer opportunities? top

The library welcomes local and visiting students, art historians, and others interested in volunteering to work in a variety of capacities. Past projects have included designing and compiling databases, assisting with interlibrary loan, cataloguing images, and helping to organize the vertical files. To inquire, please send a letter and CV to Head of Reader Services, National Gallery of Art Library, 2000B South Club Drive, Landover, MD 20785.

The library also participates in the Gallery’s Summer Internship program.

Does the library present exhibitions of books? top

Volumes from the rare books collection are occasionally included in the Gallery's exhibitions of paintings and sculpture. The library regularly presents exhibitions in the series "From the Library" in the West Building, Ground Floor, Gallery 21. Fiinally, books may be loaned to other institutions or travel as part of exhibitions.

Under the direction of the librarian for rare books, revolving thematic displays of books, journals and photographs drawn from the library’s collections appear as part of the series "In the Llibrary" in the atrium of the Study Center. To view the current exhibition, stop by the security desk at the entrance to the Study Center, Monday through Friday during library hours.

May I suggest or offer a book to add to the library collection? top

The library welcomes suggestions for additions to its collection. Recommendations and gifts are evaluated in accordance with the library's collection development policies and goals.

May I make a donation to the library? top

The library is grateful for contributions that underwrite the mission of the National Gallery of Art, and provide for the collections of the library. The library would welcome a list of editions offered. Contact the Executive Librarian, National Gallery of Art, 2000B South Club Drive, Landover, MD 20785.

Financial gifts should be discussed with the executive librarian or the Gallery’s development office.

I still have a question. How can I contact the National Gallery of Art Library? top

Please feel free to contact us. You may also telephone the reference desk, at (202) 842-6511, or write to National Gallery of Art Library, 2000-B South Club Drive, Landover, MD 20785.

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Hours

Monday, noon to 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.)
Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (last entry at 4:00 p.m.)
(except federal holidays)

Contact Us

Location
National Gallery of Art East Building
4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC

Mailing Address
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785

Contact the library or call (202) 842-6511

Contact image collections or call (202) 842-6026

Volunteer Opportunities

For information on volunteer opportunities in the National Gallery of Art Library, please send your résumé to:

Head of Reader Services
National Gallery of Art Library
2000 B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785