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Please browse below for more information on the SVA Library's extensive collections.

Alumni Collection

The SVA Library is proud to have a growing collection of books illustrated and/or written by SVA alumni. This collection exemplifies the caliber of work done by SVA alumni in all fields and will be of special interest to those in the Illustration Department. These books are kept behind the circulation desk and may not be taken out of the library. The Visual Arts Library appreciates, and welcomes, all donations by alumni.


The Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives is dedicated to preserving and making accessible design works of significant artistic, cultural, and historical value by preeminent designers, illustrators, and art directors who have close ties to the School of Visual Arts. The collections represent the artistic and intellectual vitality of the SVA community and provide an invaluable resource to students, designers, and researchers who wish to study the breadth of a designer's work.  The Archives acquires materials in many formats with the intent of documenting the design process from conception to completion. Among the media held by the Archives are posters, works of art on paper, printed samples and ephemera, photographs, audio and videotapes, publications, scrapbooks, slides, and personal papers

The School of Visual Arts Archives serves as the final repository for the historical records of the School of Visual Arts. Its primary purpose is to document the history of the School and to provide source material for administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and other members of the School community, as well as scholars, authors, and other interested persons who seek to evaluate the impact of the School’s activities on the history of American artistic, social, and cultural development.  Materials in the Archives' collections include posters, announcements, departmental and student publications, and other printed ephemera and artifacts, dating back to its founding in 1947. The Archives also collects administrative and departmental records, photographs, and the papers of important individuals associated with the College.

Artists' Works File

Artists' Works File is a vertical file collection of reproductions of works by more than 300 artists.

Please be aware that pictures in the collection are for educational purposes only. The SVA Library does not hold copyright permissions for any of the pictures; therefore, they may not be used commercially.

Audio CDs and Books on Tape

All CDs, cassettes and reserve LP records are kept at the circulation desk. Of the audio materials, only books on tape may be checked out of the library. 


Most of the 60,000 books in the library are located in the Main Stacks (Circulating Books). Reference books, which contain concise, thorough information on a variety of subjects include: encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, almanacs, bibliographies and atlases.


This collection of more than 1,600 comic books contains DC Comics, and an expanding collection of underground comics, foreign comics and graphic novels. Graphic novels are also found in the circulating book collection and can be searched in VISION. 


Now numbering more than 6,000 videos, the DVD/Video collection contains experimental and feature films, animation videos, documentaries about artists, filmed musical and theater performances, demonstrations of artistic techniques and examples of performance and video art. Circulating DVD/Videos may be checked out of the library. Non-circulating DVD/Videos may only be viewed in the library. Viewing stations are available. 

Exhibition Catalogs

The exhibition catalog collection consists of more than 2,000 exhibition catalogs, artists’ books, pamphlets and other specialized publications relating to the visual arts. This collection is an invaluable resource for researching contemporary and emerging artists about whom there is little or no other written or visual information available. It can also provide additional and alternative information about well-known, well-documented artists. Most exhibition catalogs may be borrowed from the library. 

Film Scripts

The library maintains a collection of more than 700 film scripts, ranging from such classics as Rear Window and The Searchers to more recent films like No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood and Inception. Film scripts may be taken out of the library.

Periodicals (Magazines and Newspapers)

The SVA Library’s outstanding selection of periodicals, including both standards (Art in America, Print, etc.) and more specialized and unusual titles (Eye, Leonardo, etc.), provides regional, national and international coverage of all fields of art. The library also subscribes to many general-interest periodicals such as Entertainment Weekly, New York, Spin, Sports Illustrated, Time, Vibe and Vogue, as well as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Village Voice.

Rare Book Collection

This collection of rare, signed and out-of-print materials includes many important art and design books as well as artists' books. See the policy for more information on viewing these materials.
Link to policy

Reserve Collection

Books on reserve are those assigned by instructors. Reserve books are kept at the circulation desk and must be requested by call number. Reserve photocopies are assigned readings that have been photocopied from books and other sources. Reserve books and photocopies must be used in the library. 

The Picture Collection

The picture collection contains more than 150,000 images clipped from magazines and other sources and filed alphabetically according to subject. Up to 50 pictures (10 per subject) may be checked out of the library.

Thesis Collection

The library houses a selection of master’s theses from the Fine Arts, Photography and Computer Art departments. Theses may not be taken out of the library (for exceptions see the Policy section).

Visual Resource Collection

Welcome to the Visual Resources Collection (VRC)!

Located in the Visual Arts Library at 380 Second Avenue on the 2nd floor, the VRC is the central resource for images and imaging technologies used by instructors and students at the college for teaching and study purposes.


The collection includes nearly 58,000 local digital records through our in-house image database, MDID2 (Madison Digital Image Database). There are also 150,000 35mm slides and access to online databases of images, such as ARTstor and Art Museum Image Gallery (subscription image services).

Staffed Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm, we offer a variety of services to the SVA community, including maintenance of our online collection of images as well as training and technical support for MDID and ARTstor. We provide information on scanning and storing images in addition to assistance in converting lectures based on analog images to digital images. If you are a faculty member and currently teaching a course, you may gain access to the VRC anytime the library is open (check the main library page for a list of operating hours).

One-on-one instruction for the use of our image databases is available by Tessa Morefield (tmorefield@sva.edu, 212-592-2666) or Lorraine Gerety (lgerety@sva.edu, 212-592-2667). We also offer faculty a quiet space (equipped with workstations for internet access and WiFi, an Epson GT 20000 scanner and a photocopier) for preparing lectures, meeting with students and/or conducting research.

The VRC maintains a list of online image resources, so if there is a site that you find particularly useful, please let us know so we can add it to the list.

For updates about the collection, make sure to check out the VRC's blog, In the Loupe.

See you in the SVA Library soon!


Other Helpful Links

MDID - Getting Started
ARTstor Info
MDID + ARTstor Tutorials
SVA Library Blog


Blog Feed

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587