Thomas J. Watson Library

The Libraries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Filed under: About Watson Library

Access and Hours


The Thomas J. Watson Library’s primary mission is to support the research needs of the Museum’s staff; in addition, the library serves an international community of scholars.
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.
Registration with photo ID is required. All library users must check coats, bags larger than 9 x 12 x 3 in. and laptop cases at the coat check or in the lockers in Watson Library.
The Watson Library is a closed stack (non-browsing) and non-circulating collection devoted primarily to art history. Requested books are paged for visitors and must be used in the library.
Researchers may use the Watson Library without paying Museum admission; to do so they must request a pass at the Reception Desk at the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 82nd St.
Researchers who would prefer to use a browsing collection are welcome in the Nolen Library in the Uris Center for Education, on the Ground Floor of the Museum.
The Watson Library is located on the first floor of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Public Hours:

Weekdays: Monday–Thursday 10:00 a.m.–5:15 p.m.; Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; paging until 3:30 p.m.  Page from home and you will be notified by email when your books are available (except for Special Collections books, which will be retrieved when you come to Watson Library).
Saturdays: 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m; paging until 1:30 p.m.; reference until 2:00 p.m. We do not page from Special Collections or Departmental Libraries on Saturdays.

Closed on national and staff holidays, including Election Day and the day after Thanksgiving; the library closes at 3:00 p.m. on the Fridays before holiday weekends (paging ends at 2:30 p.m.). View Holiday Closings.
Appointments are not necessary.

Staff Hours:

Weekdays: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m; paging until 1:30 p.m.; reference until 2:00 p.m.

Closed on all staff holidays; the library closes at 3:00 p.m. on the Fridays before holiday weekends.

Telephone: Reference Desk: 212-650-2225, Circulation Desk: 212-650-2175
Fax: 212-570-3847; email: Reference:, Circulation:

Paging Schedule:

Location of Materials          Time of Request                      Time available for pick-up

Watson Library                    Before 10:30am                      11:30am
Watson Library                    Before 12:00                           1:00pm
Watson Library                    Before 2:00pm                        3:00pm
Watson Library                    Before 3:30pm                        4:30pm

Departmental Libraries         Anytime                                 Within 2 business days of request

Offsite                                Anytime                                  Within 2 business days of request

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