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Library Explore


The Clark houses one of the most distinguished art research libraries in the country, with more than 285,000 volumes in over 65 languages. Focusing on post-medieval European and American art, the collection is outstanding in the fields of Italian and Northern Renaissance, Baroque, and nineteenth-century French art, the history of photography, and international contemporary art, as well as theory and visual culture.




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

Clark Library Rare Book Collection

The Decisive Moment : Photography.  Henri Cartier-Bresson.  New York : Simon and Schuster, [1952]

In an opening essay, Cartier-Bresson writes: “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression. I believe that through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us… A balance must be established between these two worlds – the one inside us and the one outside us.  As a result of a constant reciprocal process, both these worlds come to form a single one.  And it is this world that we must communicate.”

The caption for plate 42 reads simply:  “New York, 1947.  Easter Sunday in Harlem.”


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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 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

Joshua Rashaad McFadden : I Believe I'll Run On.  Essay by LaCharles Ward; conversation between Lyle Ashton Harris and Joshua Rashaad McFadden.   Rochester, NY:  George Eastman Museum; [New Haven, Connecticut]:  Yale University Press, 2022.

American artist Joshua Rashaad McFadden makes photographs that explore and celebrate Black life in the United States. Published in conjunction with his first solo museum exhibition, Joshua Rashaad McFadden: I Believe I'll Run On demonstrates his mastery of a wide range of photographic genres, including social documentary, reportage, portraiture, and fine art, as well as his use of the medium to confront racism and anti-Black violence. Like Black photographers before him such as Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava, Carrie Mae Weems, Dawoud Bey, and LaToya Ruby Frazier, McFadden documents the beauty of Black life and illuminates the specificity of Black living in our historical present, including a series of impactful photographs devoted to the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. Along with a candid conversation between McFadden and artist Lyle Ashton Harris and an essay that traces McFadden's meteoric career, this catalogue offers an overview of and insight into a poignant and deeply personal body of work, asserting McFadden's key role in shaping the art and visual culture of the United States.



The Clark library is currently open by appointment Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.  Please email [email protected] or call 413-458-0532 to inquire about making an appointment and booking a seat.

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You are also welcome to email the library with reference/research questions.


The Library is closed on the following holidays:
New Year's Day
Presidents' Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Indigenous Peoples Day
Thanksgiving (2 days)
Christmas (2 days)


Extended hours are available to holders of Clark badges.

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.