The Clark houses one of the most distinguished art research libraries in the country, with more than 296,000 volumes in over 130 languages. From its opening in 1962 the library has grown and changed over the years to accommodate teaching spaces, visual resources, new programs and initiatives, and a never-ending array of new technologies (in addition, of course, to its growing collection of books), always striving to meet the needs of our valued students, scholars, staff, researchers, and visitors.
The library’s special collections enhance both library and museum holdings. Highlights include the founding collection of Robert Sterling Clark's rare books, the history of photomechanical reproduction, early illustrated printed books, decorative arts and sample books, twentieth- and twenty-first century artists’ books, and archival collections.
special collections book of the month
Artists' Books Collection
Gwen Smith's The Black Women Project is a collection of her painted portraits of renowned Black Women. Smith uses selfies to reference each time she entered her studio over a period of 2.5 years, creating a rhythm by merging her identity as a Black Woman with her subjects. Some of the women Smith chooses to paint are artists, scientists, educators, politicians, writers, poets and performers. All are respected by Smith and provide the impetus for her ongoing self exploration.
Serving the general public as well as visiting scholars and local students and faculty, the Clark library welcomes all visitors to use its reference and research services and to enjoy its collections. An extensive array of electronic resources and reference materials support scholarly research in the field of Art History. Library staff are dedicated to assisting all users to access the library’s wide-ranging and diverse collections.
New Acquisitions Book of the Week
Object Lessons in American Art. Edited by Karl Kusserow ; with contributions by Horace D. Ballard, Kirsten Pai Buick, Ellery E. Foutch, Karl Kusserow, Jeffrey Richmond-Moll, Rebecca Zorach. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Art Museum, 2023.
Object Lessons in American Art explores a diverse gathering of Euro-American, Native American, and African American art from a range of contemporary perspectives, illustrating how innovative analysis of historical art can inform, enhance, and afford new relevance to artifacts of the American past. The book is grounded in the understanding that the meanings of objects change over time, in different contexts, and as a consequence of the ways in which they are considered. Inspired by the concept of the object lesson - the study of a material thing or group of things in juxtaposition to convey embodied and underlying ideas - Object Lessons in American Art examines a broad range of art from Princeton University's venerable collections as well as contemporary works that imaginatively appropriate and reframe their subjects and style, situating them within current social, cultural, and artistic debates on race, gender, the environment, and more.
The library is open without appointment. Hours are:
Monday - Friday, 9 am to 5 pm
All are welcome to email the library with reference/research questions.
The library is closed to the public on the following holidays:
New Year's Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Indigenous Peoples Day
Thanksgiving (2 days)
Christmas (2 days)
Extended hours are available to holders of a Clark badge or a Reader's Card. Reader's cards are given by application. Cards may not be appropriate for all applicants but we will always do our best to meet your research needs!
Mon-Thurs 8 am to 11 pm
Friday 8 am to 6 pm
Saturday 9 am to 6 pm
Sunday 9 am to 11 pm
With the exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day the library is open during holidays to anyone eligible for extended hours.