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Art/ Libraries and Research Centers/ Thomas J. Watson Library/ Using the Library/ Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Watson Library is open to visiting researchers, college-age and above. You can find information about Watson Library here.

Please register online here. You will receive a temporary library barcode that you can use to request books in advance of your visit. When you visit Watson Library in person, please visit the Circulation Desk and show a photo ID to receive your physical library card.

Watson Library is open to visitors on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00am-5:00pm and Saturday from 10am-4:00pm.
Met Staff hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm, and Saturday, 10:00am-4:00pm.
Please review library closures here.

Visitors can use any Museum entrance available to visitors. Please note that all visitors are expected to adhere to the museum's visitor guidelines. After entering the Museum, you will have to proceed to a Ticketing or Membership line. You can show your Watson Library card or email registration confirmation during library hours at a Ticketing or Membership desk and be issued a Met ticket. If you have a Met Membership card (not a library card), instead of proceeding to a Ticketing or Membership line, you can proceed directly to the galleries where you will be scanned in.

Large bags of any type and coats are not permitted in the library. You can review our policies here, including our full coat and bag policy.

Water in a closed container is permitted. All other food and drink are prohibited.

Watson Library does not offer any meeting space for in-person or virtual meetings. Please note that the library is a quiet space designated for research.

When searching our online catalog, you will see a request button next to each book entry. Please click on request, and you will be prompted to enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your library barcode (or temporary barcode if you are newly registered), and then click on the submit button. You will see a confirmation page confirming that your request was successful.

If you are requesting a volume from a multi-volume set, please follow the above instructions. After you click on the submit button, you will have the option to choose the volume you need and then click the submit button again. If you need multiple volumes, you will need to submit a request for each one.

You have the option to log in to your library account with your last name and the last 6 digits of your library barcode (or temporary barcode if you are newly registered). If you are logged in, then you do not have to enter your information each time you request a book. You can just click on the request and submit buttons for each request.

You can request up to 10 books. As your requested books are retrieved and checked out to your account, you can continue to request up to 10 books. There is no limit to how many books are checked out to your account.

Please review the book retrieval schedule to determine an approximate time of when your books will be available. You will receive email notifications about the status of your requested books.

Please check your email spam/junk folder.  You can also add the email address that notifications are sent from: If you are still not receiving email notifications from us, please review your email spam settings.

Once you receive an email confirmation that your requested book is checked out to your library account and on the hold shelves, we hold the books for one week from that time. You can request to renew your books in person at the Circulation Desk.

Watson Library’s collection is non-circulating. All books must be consulted in Watson Library and cannot leave the library.

There are 12 computers available for research use. You can access our online catalog, Watsonline, and Watson’s electronic subscription databases. These computers are intended for research purposes and you may print up to 25 black and white pages per day.

You can bring your laptop to use. Laptop sleeves are not permitted in the library and must be stored in library lockers. The museum provides free Wi-Fi throughout the building.

There are 6 overhead book scanners available for use free of charge. You can email the scans to yourself or save them to a flash drive.

Watson Library does not provide scans from books in our collection. Overhead book scanners are available for use during your in-person visit. If you are unable to visit, we suggest checking WorldCat for libraries that may have the book you need and can assist with your scan request. You can also check to see if your local library or institution can assist you with your request.

Watson Library does not handle image license requests.  Please review The Met’s Image and Data Resources.

Watson Library is dedicated to creating a respectful and welcoming environment for all. This includes using anti-racist, inclusive, and non-derogatory language when cataloging and describing our library’s resources. Watson Library follows the standard practice of applying Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to our materials to enable consistent searching across our catalog. Unfortunately, some LCSH terminology includes biased, outdated, and problematic terms. When applicable, Watson Library adopts reparative cataloging practices to support and implement the use of alternative controlled vocabularies to describe our resources.

With that in mind, we invite our patrons to email us at should they encounter any such harmful language in our catalog, and we will work to address the issue.