FOLIO Library Catalog

The Bard Graduate Center Library’s mission is to support BGC students, faculty, and staff in their academic endeavors and research needs.

We provide reference assistance through workshops and personal appointments, and we staff our reference desk six days per week during the academic year.

We assist patrons in using the rich resources available in New York City and provide interlibrary loan services for research materials out of town.

Digital Collections provides equipment, training, and support for patrons who wish to produce digital images for presentations, papers and projects.

Reference Desk

Students, faculty, and staff may visit the reference desk on the second floor of 38 West 86 Street, call 212.501.3025 or e-mail [email protected]. Appointments are required for outside researchers and alumni. We are unable to accommodate walk-in visitors or unconfirmed appointment requests.

Interlibrary Loans (ILL)

Bard Graduate Center students, faculty and fellows may request interlibrary loans through the Reader Services office. If you need a book, journal article, or other library materials that are not available in New York City, the Library can request a loan for that material on your behalf.

ILL requests will not be fulfilled if they are available in a NYC library. If you need a pass to visit NYU, Columbia or FIT, stop by the reference desk for a METRO pass.

How to request an ILL:

Book requests

  1. Use this ILL request form (books) for physical copies of books.
  2. You can also request a book directly through Worldcat. Once you find the record, click the link that says “Have the BGC Library request this for you via ILL” and fill out the online form.
  3. Students may place ILL requests for materials not available in NYC Libraries. If your material is available at Watson Library, NYPL or the Frick, you will be asked to consult the material there. Please check Worldcat before placing your request.
  4. ILLs can take 1-4 weeks to arrive.
  5. All ILLs are for “in library use” only. You may take them to your shelf or office, but they cannot leave the building.
  6. ILLs can take several weeks to arrive, so plan accordingly.
  7. Renewals can be requested before the due date, but are not guaranteed.
  8. Return all ILLs to the reference desk.

Scan requests

  1. Use this ILL request form (scans) if you need a scan from a book chapter or periodical that is not in our collection.
  2. ILLs will be emailed to you and will contain a link and password to access your scan to download. Please note that the link is only good for 30 days or 5 viewings.
Workshops and Courses

In addition to our reference desk services and one-on-one research appointments, the BGC Library and the Visual Media Resources Department conduct research skills and academic productivity workshops throughout the school year.

Workshops offered

Library Research I: Online Library Research and Research in New York

An introduction to the BGC’s online collections is offered during the August orientation session, for first-year MA students. This workshop includes an introduction to our library catalog, Folio, True Serials periodicals searching tool and an overview of some of our most popular databases.

Library Research II: The Book as Object

In the second part of our August orientation research workshops, we introduce BGC students to our special collections and rare books, as well as other selected material from the library’s collections, including monographs, periodicals, reference books and DVDs. We also delve into exercises on the book as an object, with a Prownian analysis exercise.

Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

BGC students are invited to visit the Watson Library as a group to tour the space, meet the librarians, and attend a presentation on the Watson’s services. Students are introduced to the library’s online catalog, Watsonline, and learn about their ongoing digital collections projects.

Image Research

Taught by the Visual Media Resources Department, this class gives an overview of such topics as using controlled vocabularies to aid in image research, ordering images for academic publishing, and finding image resources for the decorative arts and material culture.


An introduction to the creation of digital images using flatbed scanners and the preparation and editing of images using Adobe Photoshop. Topics covered include: methods of correcting images for optimal color, contrast, and clarity and the different choices in resolution, file formats, and size for various types of image use.


This class guides students in using Zotero, a free reference management system designed to store, manage, and cite bibliographic information. Discussions include: methods of saving citations, creating bibliographies and creating endnotes and footnotes in Microsoft Word.

Auction Catalogs and Provenance Research

Featuring a selection of auction catalogs from our collection, we discuss online resources for provenance research. The history of collecting and the intricacies of auction research in the decorative arts are emphasized; online digitized material and subscription databases are explored.

Archives and Special Collections

This workshop focuses on archives and special collections in New York City and beyond. We examine the best resources for locating archival collections and explore the growing amount of online digitized content to help connect you with primary source materials.

Refining Your Research: Advanced Periodical Searching, Archives and Special Collections

This class focuses on the the nuances of advanced periodical searching in TrueSerials, our platform to locate print and online journal holdings within our collection as well as outside our institution in We also look at the ArchiveGrid database for finding archival material and talk about the importance of searching for and using special collections in NYC for primary source material.


In the Fall semester, we hold an informal Question and Answer session with second year Master’s students to discuss the research process for their Qualifying Paper. The goal of this discussion is to prepare students to stay on track with effective research methods, encourage them to make use of our one-on-one research appointments and to ask any questions about formatting, bibliographies, and other general research questions.

Using other NYC Libraries

New York City is home to numerous academic, museum, and research libraries with collections in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture. The Bard Graduate Center encourages students to take full advantage of the rich array of resources that the city has to offer.

Some institutions are open to the public, with or without an appointment; others are private and are only open to qualified outside researchers from other academic institutions in the city, such as the BGC.

We recommend New York Public Library (NYPL) and the Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as excellent starting places for students to expand their research experiences.

Visiting an academic library: METRO passes

The Bard Graduate Center does not provide borrowing privileges at other academic libraries in the city, such as Columbia, NYU, and FIT. BGC Library staff can write students a one-time use visiting (METRO) pass to these institutions for a specific title, as long as it is not available in a public institution. This service is made possible through our institutional membership with the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). Stop by the reference desk or send your requested title to [email protected] for assistance.

Once you receive a pass for a title, it is recommended to contact the library in advance to confirm hours and title availability.

MaRLI cards from NYPL

If your research involves topics or subjects not fully covered by our collection, we encourage BGC researchers to apply for NYPL’s Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI) card. This program allows approved NYPL cardholders to borrow select research library material for at-home use from NYPL, Columbia University, and NYU.

New York City Libraries

American Museum of Natural History Research Library

Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives

Columbia University Libraries (METRO pass required)

Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum Library

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) (METRO pass required)

Frick Art Reference Library

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Watson Library

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Libraries

The New York Public Library (NYPL)

The New-York Historical Society

New York University Libraries (METRO pass required)
Style and Citation

Style Guides + Citation Tools

Chicago Manual of Style
  • The Bard Graduate Center conforms to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS).

  • Copies of the Chicago Manual of Style are available at the second-floor reference desk in the Library, in the VMR, and in the Reference Collection (call number Z253 .U69 2003).

  • The Library also subscribes to The Chicago Manual of Style Online.

BGC Style Guide
  • For preferred rules of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, please refer to the BGC Style Guide, developed by the managing editorial department at BGC.

BGC Citation Guidelines

  • For examples of bibliographic citations and notes formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style, you may download Bard Graduate Center Citation Guidelines developed by Bard Graduate Center professor Elizabeth Simpson.

  • The BGC offers workshops and training in Zotero, a free reference management system designed to store, manage, and cite bibliographic information. Zotero is available for both Mac and PC and is compatible with multiple browsers. It can also be integrated with Microsoft Word.

  • Zotero can be downloaded at Support is available on the Zotero website.

  • The BGC Library can provide documentation and assistance for using Zotero. Email [email protected] for more information.

Research Guides
Please refer to these research guides that were created by the Bard Graduate Center Library staff for more information about material culture of the ancient world.