Thursday, July 15

Victoria and Albert Museum Library

The National Art Library is housed within the walls of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The NAL is a public Reference library in which anyone may come and view materials within the library only. The NAL is also considered to be a repository library in which the collections are never weeded. The library houses over 2 million items and an acquisition budget of over 500,000 pounds. These items include 8000 periodicals, 2000 which are current and a very large sales catalog collection. Also, a very massive part of the collection is actually in foreign languages.

The library employs around 60 staff members throughout the library most of which are actually working behind the scenes in management, acquisitions, cataloging and conservation. All inquiries both for the library and the museum are handled by the library. All inquiries from the public are retrieved once an hour, on the hour. On the hour staff members collect the requests and head into to back rooms, upstairs and downstairs to fill the request for the patrons. Currently all of the collections are onsite, but with the large acquistion budget, the stacks are filling up.

Special collections for the NAL are very impressive! Some of the items included are:

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Bleak House
London:Bradbury & Evans, 1853 (1852-1853 printing)

First ed. consisting of 20 monthly issues in 19 (last issue contains no 19 & 20) issues monthly from March 1852 to Sept. 1853.

Shakespeare, William.
Comedies, histories, & tragedies.
London, 1623

This is a copy of a Shakespeare's First Folio, one of the most famous books in the English language.

Leonardo da Vinci

I codici Forster. [Parte] II. (Original ca. 1495-1497)

Firenze: Guinti Barbera, 1992


All captions for photos are from the NAL conservation lab.

Visit the National Art Library at the V&A National Art Gallery at .

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