Art/ Libraries and Research Centers/ Thomas J. Watson Library/ Using the Library/ Policies


Reading privileges in Watson Library are extended to Museum staff and visiting researchers wishing to do art historical or related research who are college-level and older. Appointments are not necessary.

Registration with photo ID is required. All library users must check coats, bags larger than 8 ½ x 11 inches and laptop cases in the lockers provided in Watson Library.

Watson Library is now open to visitors on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10:00am-5:00pm. 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 at a Ticketing or Membership desk during library hours and be issued a Met ticket. If you have a Met Membership card (not a library card), instead of proceeding to a ticketing line, you can proceed directly to the galleries where you will be scanned in.

Watson Library is a closed stack (non-browsing) and non-circulating collection devoted primarily to the history of art. Requested books are paged for visitors and must be used in the library. Researchers are welcome to browse our reference collection on open shelves in our Reading Room and Reference Room.

Watson Library is located on the First Floor of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Watson Library’s electronic workstations are reserved for scholarly research purposes only and are not for recreational or personal use.

Watson Library Coat and Bag Policy

Library lockers are available for use while you are at the library. Locker measurements are 10 3/4"W x 17 3/4"D x 11"H. Personal items are not permitted to be left unattended. If items do not fit inside the lockers, please bring them to the museum coat check. Nothing is permitted to be left in the lockers overnight.


When visiting Watson Library, researchers must store all coats and outerwear in a library locker or check these items at the museum coat check. Overcoats, heavy and/or long jackets, and outerwear are not permitted in the library. We recognize that the library may be chilly at times, and that researchers may opt to wear a thin or very light jacket to stay warm. Blazers, suit jackets and sweaters are permitted. They must be worn or stored in the library lockers. Clothing may not be draped on library chairs and tables.


Researchers must store all bags larger than 8 1/2" x 11" and 2 1/2" thick in a locker. In addition, all laptop and tablet sleeves must be stored in a locker. As a courtesy to researchers, clear plastic bags are available for essential items to be brought into the library.

Please contact the Circulation Desk at (212) 650-2175 or to make an appointment to use our microfilm/fiche machines. Appointments are made for two-hour time slots.

You are able to print or download scanned images from our microfilm/fiche readers.

Watson Library Interlibrary Services participates as a lender in OCLC's WorldShare Interlibrary Loan.  Please check the OCLC Policies Directory (symbol MZA) for further information about our lending policies.  We primarily lend and provide scans to libraries within the RLG SHARES consortium.

As a last resort, we may send books or scans to other non-SHARES and non-OCLC libraries and institutions on a case-by-case basis.  Please note, however, that items listed as belonging to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Worldcat may not necessarily be held in Watson Library, and therefore may be ineligible for lending or photocopying.  Before submitting an ILL request, please check Watsonline, our online catalog, to confirm that the item you need is held in Watson Library and is not checked out or otherwise unavailable for use.

Fees and Payment:

For non-SHARES libraries, charges are as follows:

  • $25 for loans within the United States
  • $25 or 2.5 IFLA vouchers for article/chapter requests up to 50 pages (domestic and international)
  • $35 or 3.5 IFLA vouchers for international loans
  • Note: Fees may be waived for art libraries and other museums in exchange for reciprocal interlibrary borrowing/copying privileges.

Acceptable forms of payment are: OCLC ILL Fee Management (IFM), credit card, or IFLA voucher.

Submitting ILL Requests:

Please submit ILL requests via OCLC's WorldShare Interlibrary Loan.  To avoid automatic deflection, make sure we are the last/only lender in the string. We will normally respond to your request within five working days.

If you do not participate in OCLC WorldShare Interlibrary Loan, you may e-mail your request to  Provide as much information as possible about the item you need (including our call number and location), as well as your acceptance of our above-stated fees.  We will normally respond to your request within ten working days.

Contact Information

Interlibrary Services
Thomas J. Watson Library
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028

(212) 650-2444

General Guidelines

Use social-media platforms…to build communities and participation around common topics and shared interests. (Goal 2, Objective 2, Strategy E)


Watson Library currently maintains three social media accounts: Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. We also have an active blog, In Circulation, in addition to a Library Newsletter. We are one of a small number of Museum departments that maintains its own social media accounts. We applied for and were encouraged by the Digital Department to create these accounts and continue to work in consultation with them to ensure all social media channels are in alignment with Museum policies and best practices.

Our social media strategy—to showcase the breadth and depth of the Library's collection, programs, and activities and enhance visitor engagement—relies on content from all members of the Library staff, and we welcome individuals to participate in our initiatives. We are happy to meet with library staff to discuss possible collaborations. In order to ensure consistent messaging on behalf of the Library, it is important that all work-related social media initiatives be coordinated with the Social Media team.

Mission Statement

The Social Media Team manages multiple social media platforms to support Thomas J. Watson Library's mission and goals by growing and engaging our internal and external research communities, by promoting our many services and programs, and by highlighting the library's encyclopedic collections.

Best Practices

  • Anything posted through the Library social media program must comply with the The Met's Social Media Guidelines & Strategy.
  • Make titles and messages brief, but add value: Post content that will be useful, interesting, or engaging to your audience. Don't just post several links to other items.
  • Before posting, check facts, spelling, and grammar.
  • Do not use copyrighted photos and/or images.
  • Post regularly. For platforms like Instagram and Facebook, one post per day on weekdays (i.e., up to five posts per week) is the recommended frequency. For platforms like the blog and e-newsletter, creating and maintaining a regular publishing schedule is recommended.
  • Engage with users via comments or questions.
  • Monitor your platform and keep up with the conversation. Regularly read all the posts on your platform, including comments posted by others. Sometimes, people will ask important questions via social media rather than phone or email. Make sure to find these questions and answer them directly. These questions should be answered by the team responsible for the platform if possible, and forwarded to appropriate staff when further expertise is needed.
  • Use proper punctuation and capitalization. All content must be written in accordance with the Museum Style Guide.
  • Protect confidential and proprietary information. Social computing blurs lines between internal and external communications. Sensitive information must never be posted.
  • Don't censor negative comments. You may see people post negative comments from time to time. Use your best judgment as to whether you want to try to reply officially and respectfully, or simply ignore the comment.


Our standards are in alignment with the Museum's standards, as articulated in the Employee Handbook, section 1103, "Social Media, Blogging, and Other Forms of On-Line Publication."