The library offers comprehensive, international, up-to-date materials on the history of photography, from daguerreotypes to digital images. Monographs and exhibition catalogues of the work of well-known photographers are available, as well as self-published photobooks by emerging contemporary artists. Holdings include many books on the historical, theoretical, and social aspects of photography, and on the use of the medium in journalism, advertising, and industry. Photographic technique is thoroughly documented in manuals, equipment catalogues, and scientific reports. Reference works, including dictionaries, guides, and auction catalogues, are available. Periodicals range from scholarly journals to mass-market magazines.
Library holdings of the literature of motion pictures, television, and video cover the silent period to the digital age and offer international scope and perspective. Histories of the industry and the studios, biographies of filmmakers and actors, and works of criticism and theory by leading international scholars present a broad view of the impact of moving images on society and culture. Cinematographic technology is covered in depth, as is film preservation. Reference works and periodicals, including industry publications, are available.
Library Special Collections and Archives comprise manuscripts, papers, and ephemera, including those of Alvin Langdon Coburn, Lewis W. Hine, Southworth and Hawes, and Edward Steichen, among other photographers, collectors, and inventors.
The library accepts limited donations of books, magazines, pamphlets, and other publications related to photography and moving images. Library staff members review all donations and decide what to keep. Duplicate materials and items that do not fit the current needs and priorities will not be added to the library.