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Library & Research

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Collections

The Library of the National Gallery of Canada houses the most extensive collection of visual arts literature in Canada. Canadiana are collected comprehensively; other notable strengths are the history of the Western tradition from the late Middle Ages to the present, with particular emphasis on painting, sculpture and the graphic arts of Great Britain, France, Italy and the United States, and the history and technology of photography. Up to 3 copies of monographs on the Canadian visual arts are collected by the Library.

The collections include 275,000 books, exhibition catalogues and bound periodicals, 900 current periodical subscriptions, 58,000 auction catalogues, 95,000 microforms, 76,000 documentation files, 362,000 study photographs, 203,000 slides and 1000 linear meters of institutional archives and private papers. The Archives are of national importance as witness to the development of the visual arts in Canada since the founding of the National Gallery in 1880 to the present.

The Library's collections and programs support the requirements of the National Gallery's library, curatorial, education, conservation and research staff, and the work of the scholars of the National Gallery's Research Fellowships Program. The Library's mandate extends as well to the national and international scholarly communities, and to a varied clientele of museum professionals, students, artists, journalists, collectors, dealers and the general public. Although the collections emphasize advanced research, user needs may be supported at the general inquiry level.

You can also consult the Library and Archives Collection Development Policy (1997) and the Library and Archives Collections Development Policy (2011).