Requesting Research Library Materials

How to Request Research Library Materials

Request general research materials in advance to make the most of your time on site. 

For special collection items, contact the specific collection for access information. For assistance, please contact Ask NYPL.

  1. Search for materials in the library's Research Catalog.
  2. For items with a Request button in the catalog, click the button to request the item.
  3. If the item does not have a Request button in the catalog, use one of the request forms below.

Please check your patron account to be sure items are Ready for Pickup in advance of your visit.

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Request Form
Library for the Performing Arts 212-870-1844
Request Form
​Temporarily Unavailable

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Research and Reference Division

Onsite Request Only

(delivery in under 15 minutes)

Electronic delivery of select off-site materials

Select off-site materials may be delivered electronically. Request a table of contents, single article, book chapter, or index to be scanned and delivered to your inbox. Requests may not exceed fair use limits, or 50 pages for public domain works. The document will be scanned and either emailed as an attachment or posted online within 48 hours. If the file is posted online, you will receive an email message with the URL and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access the file.

Please note:

  • Each article file can be retrieved a maximum of five (5) times.
  • Once a file is retrieved, it remains available to the user for five (5) days.
  • Files not retrieved remain available for 30 days following the original request date. 

Manuscripts and archives, audiovisual materials, and prints and photographs are not available for electronic delivery.

The Library’s premium service department offers scanned copies of material held on-site at NYPL research libraries, for those unable to visit our research libraries in person. Please see the fee schedule for the associated costs.

Electronic delivery of select on-site materials

General Collections

Eligible general collection items held at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts may be requested by clicking the Request button wherever it appears in the Research Catalog. When the document has been scanned and is available for download, users will receive an email message with the URL and a password to access the file. Requests will be filled as quickly as possible, but please be aware it may take up to two weeks (or longer, in cases where complex rights issues apply).

Please note:

  • Requests are for personal research use only. Please limit requests to a small portion of the work (one chapter, one article, around 10% of work or 50 pages for public domain works). Please note that requests for multiple chapters in the same work cannot be filled. 
  • If you need access to more of the title than we can scan, please visit the research center where the title is located to view the item in person. (Please note you may need to book an appointment.)
  • Due to the volume of requests, we cannot provide lookup assistance. Please have a specific citation or pages identified in your request. 
  • Scan requests for entire works will be rejected, regardless of copyright status or length.
  • Requests will be filled as quickly as possible; please be aware it may take up to two weeks.
  • Only items in good condition will be scanned.
  • Files will remain available to the user for 30 days. Each article file can be retrieved a maximum of five times.
  • Each user is currently limited to a maximum of five Scan & Deliver requests per week (the Library’s ability to fill the requests is limited by demand).

Special Collections

Digital delivery of selected material from the Library’s manuscript, archives, prints and photographs collections is also available. To initiate a Scan & Deliver request, please contact the appropriate special collection division by email.

Please note:

  • Requests are for personal research use only. A maximum of 25 pages may be requested.
  • Delivery may take six to eight weeks.
  • Digital delivery is not available for audio and moving image materials at this time.
  • No rush services are available at this time.
  • The Library reserves the right to limit the total number of requests by an individual user.

Requesting Multiple Items

To request multiple books from the general collections at one time, including items that have the Request button in the catalog, list them in the “Material's Author, Title, Call Number and catalog record link” box using the request forms above.

You may request up to 15 items per day. Many items can be delivered to reading rooms at any NYPL research center, though some materials are restricted to specific locations.

Delivery times

Approximately 90% of research requests are delivered on the day they are requested. If you request a book when you are at the library and the catalog record indicates that it is stored on-site, the average delivery time is 45 minutes. For offsite materials, requests made before 2:30 PM will be delivered the following business day. Requests made after 2:30 PM on Fridays or over the weekend will be delivered the following Tuesday. We will hold books for up to two weeks, so you can request materials up to two weeks in advance.

Notification of delivery

If using the button in the catalog, you will receive a notification when your item is ready for use, provided you listed an email address in your NYPL account. If you use the advanced request form, you will receive a notification that your item is ready if you enter an email address on the form itself.

Requested items are held for use for two weeks. Each time you come in to access a book, it can be held on reserve for your use for another two weeks.


If the item you’d like to request is unavailable and has a due date, please use the request forms listed above and ask to recall the item.

Cancel Request

If you would like to cancel a request for an item, please use the request forms listed above and ask to cancel the request.

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

If you can’t find the item in the library’s catalog, NYPL provides an Interlibrary Loan service (ILL) for materials held at libraries outside the NYPL system. In addition to Interlibrary Loan, METRO referrals provide courtesy access to many academic, school, public, and special libraries throughout New York City and Westchester County. If you aren’t sure where to start or which service will be best for you, please come by our general reference desk, email a librarian or set up an appointment for a reference interview.

Special Collections Requests

To access material held in the Library’s special collections, please contact each collection directly:

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Art and Artifacts Division: 212-491-2241,
Research and Reference Division: 212-491-2218,
Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division: 212-491-2224,
Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division: 212-491-2236,
Photographs and Prints Division: 212-491-2057,

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Billy Rose Theatre Division: 212-870-1639,
Jerome Robbins Dance Division: 212-870-1657,
Music Division: 212-870-1650,
Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound: 212-870-1663,
Theatre on Film and Tape (TOFT): 212-870-1642,

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Arents Collection: 212-642-0110,
Berg Collection of English and American Literature: 212-930-0802,
Manuscripts and Archives Division: 212-930-0801,
Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle: 212-930-0717,
Photography Collection: 212-930-0837,
Print Collection: 212-930-0817,
Rare Books Division: 212-642-0110,
Spencer Collection: 212-930-0817,