Library FAQs


Who can use the Clark library?
All members of the public are welcome to use the library Monday–Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Library staff are available to provide information services to anyone interested in art historical research.

When can I come to the Clark library?
We are open Monday–Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. For exceptions to these regular hours, including special holiday closures, check the Clark library’s homepage.
Visitors needing in-depth research help or wishing to see Special Collections materials are encouraged to email [email protected] make a special research appointment.

Do I have to pay an admission fee to use the library? Do I have to be a member of the museum?
No and no. Visiting the Clark library is free, and the library is open to everyone.

What do I do upon arrival/departure?
On arrival, all visitors sign in on the iPad at the library monitor’s desk just inside the library entrance (Tuesday through Friday) or at the East Entrance reception desk (Monday). All visitors sign out on departure. If you need to leave the library for more than 10 minutes, please sign out and back in again.

Should I reshelve the books I use?
We ask that you NOT reshelve anything you take from the shelf, but to leave materials on any table, book cart, or countertop. This allows us to gather data on how our collections are used.


What kind of research materials can I find in the library?
The Clark library contains an ever-expanding research collection of 280,000+ volumes on art history and related fields that complement the museum’s art collections and that support the Clark/Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art as well as the Research and Academic Program. Materials include standard art reference titles and databases, monographs and scholarly journals in 65 languages from more than 140 countries, exhibition catalogs and museum publications from museums around the world, auction catalogs (including many nineteenth- and early twentieth-century catalogs annotated with buyers and/or prices), an important collection of artists’ books, and several rare book collections.

How can I search for materials that the library holds?
The easiest way is to search the library catalog. All materials are cataloged.

To search Special Collections materials, start from the general Special Collections page and choose the collection you wish to search. On the page for that collection, at upper right, click the links provided to search the library catalog or (in the case of collections that have been digitized) the ContentDM database for images and associated metadata.

How do I find materials in the library?
Maps with location guides, located near the elevator on each floor, will help you to find the location of any call number. Paper location guides can be picked up from the reference desk, color coded by floor. The maps with location guides are also posted on the library website.

What electronic resources do you offer?
We provide access to a broad range of databases and websites dedicated to the study of art history and related fields. Subscription-based resources can only be accessed from the Clark/Williams campus but many other resources, indicated by an unlocked lock icon, are freely available via the internet.

What does it mean if the catalog says an item is “Requestable?”
Requestable items are shelved in an Offsite Storage facility or are in Special Collections. Offsite materials are usually retrieved each weekday morning and Special Collections items can be retrieved any time during staffed hours.

Library users with circulation accounts may request any item not accessible in the stacks by clicking the “Request This Item” button in the online catalog and entering their name and circulation barcode.
Visitors should email or call at least two days in advance to request materials from Offsite Storage or Special Collections.

Am I allowed to view Special Collections materials?
In most cases, yes. Please call or email ahead of time to make an appointment to see Special Collections materials.

Can I check materials out from the library?
We are a non-circulating library. All materials can be used anywhere in the library, but they cannot be taken out of the library. Library materials may not be taken to the Reading Room.

Museum staff, Clark/Williams graduate students, and visiting Fellows may check books out to their offices and carrels.

How can I capture the information if I can’t check out a book?
Scanning and non-flash photography of collection materials are offered as self-service options. Scanners are located on the Lower Level in the library.


What kind of equipment and resources do you offer?
Public computers attached to a printer, a self-serve book scanning station, a flatbed scanner for scanning images into Photoshop, a microfilm reader/scanner, and a large selection of electronic resources are available in the library at no charge.

Please note that our public-access computers do not accept attachments or downloads, so it is not possible to print out papers or email attachments. It is possible to print out boarding passes, articles downloaded through JSTOR, and other things that are not attachments or that do not require access to a program such as Microsoft Word or Excel.

Does the library have access to the Internet?
Yes. You are welcome to use the Clark's free Wi-Fi (“Clark Guest,” no password required) or any of our public-access computer terminals.

Can I make scans of library materials?
You may make scans from most items in the regular collection, depending on the condition of the item. On the lower level, you will find an overhead scanner that can be used to make PDFs of articles and book chapters, and a flatbed scanner that can be used to scan images into Photoshop. There is also a microform scanner that can be used to scan microfilm and microfiche. All scans can be saved to a USB drive; the overhead and microform scanners also allow you to email a scan. New USB drives can be purchased at the reference desk for a nominal fee. Researchers are expected to observe copyright laws when making and using copies.

May I take photographs of portions of your library materials?
It is possible to take non-flash photographs of most materials. Researchers must observe copyright laws when making reproductions.

Is there any place to just hang out and read?
There are tables and comfortable seating areas on all four floors of the library. The spacious, light-filled Scott Opler Reading Room, located on the ground floor of the library, can be used for reading library materials, and the elegant Reading Room in the lobby may be used for reading the materials provided there (in addition, of course, to any personal reading or study materials you might bring with you).

Can I bring my coffee or lunch into the library?
With the exception of a covered water bottle, food and drinks are not allowed in the Reading Room or in the library.


Clark curatorial and library staff are not permitted to appraise works of art; for appraisal we recommend that you contact a reputable art dealer/appraiser. We also recommend that you research the work of art yourself to whatever degree that is possible (see Researching a Work of Art, below).

Many of the sites listed here offer some online assistance.

Anne Benedict, Appraisals, P.O. Box 1115, Northampton, MA 01061. Tel: 413 247 3237. Appraisals of antiques, fine arts, personal property, and estate sales.

Fontaine's Antique Auction Gallery, 1485 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201. Tel: 413 448 8922.

Barbara J. Sussman Appraisals, Fog Hill & Co., 173 Fog Hill Road, Hoosick Falls, NY  12090. Tel: 518 686 4809.

Christie’s, 502 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021. Tel: 212 546 1000. For informal, non-binding appraisal from photograph or from work of art, no charge. Fees for legally-binding appraisals for insurance purposes are on a percentage basis.

Sotheby’s, 1334 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021. Tel: 212 606 7000. For informal, non-binding appraisal from photograph or from work of art, no charge. Fees for legally-binding appraisals for insurance purposes are on a percentage basis.

American Society of Appraisers. 555 Herndon Parkway, Suite 125, Herndon, VA 20170. Tel: 703 478 2228 or 800 272 8258. This site provides a search feature for appraisers. Email: [email protected]

Appraisers Association of America, Tel: 212 889 5404, x11,

Appraisal Department, Art Dealers Association of America, 205 Lexington Avenue, Suite #901, New York, NY 10016. Tel: 212 488 5530, Fax: 646 688 6809. Email: [email protected]

Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers, 274 Cedar Hill Street, Marlborough, MA  01752. Tel: 508 970 3299.


If you are able to visit the Clark, you have access to a world-class art reference library, open to the public, with reference staff to assist visitors. Please do not bring works of art to the library; instead you may wish to bring photographs of your item(s) and plan a few hours doing research.

Library collections include books, reference sources, and electronic databases that will allow you to find biographical information on artists; historical and background information on art of all time periods, genres, and styles; auction sales information to help estimate the value of a work; and much more.

Click here to link to a research guide that will walk you through the research process and suggest a rich array of books, reference sources, and databases.

Contact Us

The Clark Library
225 South Street
Williamstown, MA 01267

Phone: 413 458 0532
Email: Library