Using the library’s online catalog, you can search everything in the library’s collection of art-related publications from books to auction catalogs and e-resources. The library’s collection is built around the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s collecting areas with especially strong holdings in Asian Art and Photography. This document is designed to help you create an account, locate and request materials to put on hold for viewing in the library’s Reading Room. For additional information on the Spencer Art Reference Library, please visit the library’s homepage.

The library’s catalog is optimized to work with the Chrome browser.

Library Account

Do I need an account to use the catalog?

You do not need an account to use our catalog, but without an account you cannot save searches to your favorites or get notified when materials matching your interests are added to the library’s collection.

How do I create an account?

To set up an account, click the “Request an Account” link on the library catalog home page. Fill in the form. An email will be sent to you with your temporary username and password. This is not an automated process. If you have questions about your account, please email us at: sarlcirc@nelson-atkins.org

How do I log into my account?

My Account:

After requesting an account, you will receive an email asking you to finish setting up your account by creating a password.

Social Authentication:

When your account is created, you will also receive a social authentication email. After creating your account, you can decide whether you would like to link your Twitter and/or Gmail account to your library account credentials. If you choose to, you will be able to sign-in using any of these methods in the future.

Forgot your password?

In the “My Account” sign in drop-down menu, click “Forgot Password” and enter either your user ID or your email. You will be prompted to reset your password. If you are still having trouble with your account, please email sarlcirc@nelson-atkins.org, and a library staff member will help you access your account.

Searching in the Library Catalog

How can I search the library’s catalog?

Searching is easy in the library’s catalog. You can search by artist, description, title, or ISBN.

Once you perform your search, you will have many options to narrow your search results. Using the “Tweak your results” menu on the left-hand side of your screen, you can quickly filter information in your search results to find resources that are more relevant to you.

Example: If I know that I only want titles published between 1984 and 1990 and in English, I can apply those filters:

The default search searches everything in the library’s catalog and collection.

There is more information on searching the library’s catalog here.

How can I find an article?

The library’s subscription resources are available for everyone to access from the library’s Reading Room. This includes art and design encyclopedias, full-text articles, abstract and index databases, newspapers and specialized resources on art sales, auction catalogs, and more.

We also link to several freely available online resources that you can access from anywhere through the “All Databases” link.

When in the library, there are several ways to search the library’s e-resources:

All Databases: You can click the “All Databases” link in the header here. From there, you can search each database individually.

Searching across database collections: You can switch between a physical book search and a digital article search by selecting the drop-down menu labeled “Library Catalog” to the right of your search term. This will allow you to refine your search to “Articles” or “Library Catalog.” “Library Catalog” will search primarily physical items such as books, journals, etc. “Articles” will search database collections where you can find citations and full-text articles.

Under “Articles”, there will be a second drop-down menu with two options “Central Index” and “EBSCOhost.” Both options search articles in databases. To do a comprehensive article search, select both options.

Requesting Materials

How do I request library materials?

Visit the library catalog here. Sign into “My Account.” After you are signed in, select the title of the book that you would like to have brought to the Reading Room for you. In the expanded view of the item’s record you will see the “Get It” section; when you are signed in the “request” link will be visible:

Click on “Request” for each item you would like to view during your library visit, fill out the online form and send the request.  Use the “Pick-up Date” section to tell us when you’ll need your books and leave your name and any instructions in the “Note field” section. You may still request a book whose status is “unavailable.” Once the book becomes available a library staff member will notify you.

Requests are pulled at 10 am and at 1 pm every day the library is open.

Example: If you request items on Wednesday evening at 10:30 pm, your books will be pulled at 10 am the following day (Thursday). If you request your books on Wednesday at 1:30 pm, your books will not be pulled until the following day (Thursday at 10 am). If you need your books sooner, please email sarlcirc@nelson-atkins.org or let library staff at the reference desk know that you’ve requested materials.

What do I do if I do not have an account but want to request items?

Select the materials that you need by “pinning” the title, which will add it to your favorites.

Materials that you “pin” will be saved for you in your favorites – viewable when your click the pin icon located to the left of the “Sign In” link in the upper right-hand corner.

When you have selected the materials that you need, navigate to the pin icon to see your selections. To email these requests to us, please check the box above your selections, and expand the ellipses to the right of the pin icon:

Click on the email icon and enter your email address to send the requests to yourself.  Once you receive the email in your personal email account, forward the email to sarlcirc@nelson-atkins.org with your name and when you need the materials you requested by. Library staff will pull the materials by the date you requested.