Outgoing Loan Program Guidelines


The Outgoing Loan Program for external exhibitions is coordinated by the Registrar’s Office in the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation Division. This outreach program enables approved cultural institutions to borrow works from The New York Public Library's collections for display in their own exhibitions.

Submission of Loan Request

An official letter of request must be sent to the appropriate Library curatorial division, at least six months prior to the borrower’s exhibition opening date. Loan requests are then subject to approval by the Library’s Loan Committee, which meets quarterly. Requests for high-value objects will also be subject to approval by Board of Trustees.

The borrower must provide the following information in the loan request letter:

  1. Exhibition title
  2. Opening and closing dates
  3. Brief description of exhibition content
  4. Full description of requested objects, including title, author/artist, Library division, and classmark
  5. Institution names and dates for additional venues to which objects may travel
  6. A completed American Association of Museums (AAM) Standard Facility Report


The Library Registrar must approve packing and transportation arrangements for the borrowed objects. A Library courier may be required to oversee the transportation and/or installation of loans as needed. The Library’s Shipping Requirements document will be sent to borrowers during the course of the loan process, which further details the Library’s policies.


The borrower must provide wall-to-wall fine arts insurance coverage for the full value of the loaned works, without deductible. The Library Registrar will review the borrower’s insurance policy and reserves the right to decline it if not suitable. In that event, the Library will provide insurance coverage and borrower will be responsible for the premium. A certificate of insurance must be sent prior to the release of the loan, naming The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations as “Loss Payee” and The City of New York and The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations and its Trustees, officers, agents and employees as “Additional Insured”. The certificate shall include a waiver of subrogation by the borrower’s insurer with respect to the Library and the above-referenced additionally insured parties. The Library does require terrorism coverage.

Should the Library be unable to provide a current insurance appraisal, borrower is responsible for fees for an independent appraiser.

Preparation/Conservation Treatment

The Library will prepare all objects, including fabricating book mounts, so that the borrower receives them "exhibition ready". All preparation of loans must be performed by the Library. Any costs incurred for the display of loans and any preparation or conservation treatment required to enable the objects to be safely lent are the borrower’s responsibility.

In the event that an independent conservation consultant is required, the Library will notify the borrower in advance and provide an estimate. The borrower is responsible for all relevant fees.


Each item selected for exhibition or display is evaluated individually by conservation staff to determine its suitability for exhibition and its individual light exposure requirements. Visible light levels (between approximately 400 and 700 nm) are commonly set at no more than 3 to 5 footcandles (30 to 50 lux) for sensitive collection materials and at no more than 10 footcandles (100 lux) for more stable collection materials. Limitations are also set for light duration in the form of total footcandle hours, as determined by Library conservators, taking into account specific collection item needs. Items that combine media of varying stabilities should be assumed to fall in the category of the most sensitive media present.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels (below approximately 400 nm) should be limited to no more than 75 microwatts per lumen at 1 to 10 footcandles (10 to 100 lux, 10 microwatts per cm2).  This can most commonly be accomplished by using various filters, eliminating sources of daylight, and employing light sources with no or reduced UV emissions.

Temperature/ Relative Humidity

At all times, whether in storage or on display, borrowed objects shall be maintained in a monitored environment that meets the following parameters:

  • Temperature: 67°F or 20°C with ± 2° fluctuation in any 24 hour period.

  • Relative Humidity: 45% with  ± 5% fluctuation in any 24 hour period.

The borrower may be required to provide evidence of proper environmental conditions.


Any loss, damage, or deterioration of borrowed objects occurring in transit or on exhibition shall be reported immediately to the Library’s Registrar's Office. All incidents must be documented in photograph and written form. Except in the case of emergency, objects shall not be removed from the display cases, repaired, conserved, mended, or otherwise treated without the Library’s prior written approval.


All photographic reproduction requests for borrowed objects should be directed to the curator of the appropriate division in a timely manner. Please refer to the Library’s Permissions and Reproduction Services for information about how to submit a photography request and fees.

The borrower may make a photographic record of the exhibition cases and installation.

Flash photography and photography of objects by the public are not permitted.

Written Materials

The Library will provide the credit line to be used in all instances when referring to the borrowed objects.


The borrower must provide the Library with two complimentary copies of the exhibition catalogue/publication which should be sent directly to the Registrar’s Office.


In the event the borrower cancels the loan request, borrower is responsible for a cancellation fee for each object as well as any exhibition preparation costs already incurred.

Borrowing Costs

The borrower is responsible for all loan costs, including but not limited to: insurance, loan fee, preparation fee, framing, book mounts, conservation treatment, transport, crate construction/packing, shipping, customs brokers/documentation, and courier expenses (flights, hotel, per diem).

Please note that the Loan Fee of $250.00 per object/per venue is not negotiable. Each page or part of an object that is prepared for loan is counted as one object for loan fee purposes. (For example, a manuscript with three pages, all of which are borrowed and prepared for exhibition, equals three objects: $250.00 x 3 = $750.00).

Loan Fee$250.00per object/per venue
Preparation/Conservation Treatment$60.00per hour
Matting/Hinging$60.00per hour
Fabrication - Book Mount$150.00per mount
Fabrication - Oversized Book Mount$200.00per mount
Fabrication - Platform Mount$75.00per mount
Cancellation Fee$50.00per object
Wire Transfer If applicable
Backing Boards$15.00per object
Framing$45.00per hour
-- Frame Rental  
16 x 20 inches (or smaller)$20.00per object
22 x 28 inches$25.00per object
24 x 30 inches$30.00per object
30 x 40 inches$40.00per object
Oversizes frame (32 x 42”+)$80.00per object
-- Mats  
16 x 20 inches (or smaller)$20.00per object
22 x 28 inches$30.00per object
30 x 40 inches$35.00per object
Oversize mat (32 x 42”+)$55.00per object
-- Other  
Appraisal Estimated costs will be provided
Conservation Consultant Estimated costs will be provided
Insurance Estimated costs will be provided
Packing, Transportation, Courier Estimated costs will be provided


For further information, please contact:

Registrar’s Office
Barbara Goldsmith Preservation Division
The New York Public Library
476 Fifth Avenue, Room 56
New York, NY 10018

Telephone: 212-930-0541/212-930-0682
Fax: 212-930-0751