The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts > Collections > Circulating Collections

Reserve Film and Video Collection:

(212) 870-1741

2nd Floor: Reference Desks

Monday 12-8
Tuesday 11-6
Wednesday 11-6
Thursday 12-8
Friday 11-6
Saturday 10-6

Use the Library Catalog to find materials in the Reserve Film and Video Collection.

The Library Catalog identifies all Reserve Film and Video Collection material as - Reserve Film and Video.


About the Collection:

The Reserve Film and Video Collection includes more than 6,000 16mm films, 5,000 VHS videocassettes, and 1,200 DVDs.

The New York Public Library began acquiring films in 1953, and established a film collection at the Donnell Library in 1958. The library began adding videos to the collection in the 1970s.

Since the collections inception, its primary focus has been on independently produced works. Careful selection practices have resulted in a collection that is impressive for its scope and depth and its overall high quality. The collection's holdings provide a very broad spectrum of both subject matter and filmmaking styles and genres. It is unique among American public libraries, and is comparable to archives held within major American museums and universities.

Particular strengths of the collection are its political, social and cultural documentaries; experimental films; video art; animation; short fictional works; and films and videos created by and for children and young adults.

The Reserve Film and Video Collection also offers an impressive array of over 800 feature films in all formats, including works from the silent era; independently produced features; a broad representation of world cinema; and Hollywood productions from American classics to recent releases.

Use of Collection:
Individuals and non-profit organizations may borrow Reserve Film and Video Collection holdings with a valid New York Public Library card for a period of seven days. Reserve Collection material cannot be renewed. All materials must be borrowed and returned at the Library for the Performing Arts circulation desk. Materials may be borrowed for private use only and may not be used for fundraising or other commercial purposes. Materials are not available for classroom use or school assemblies.

Individuals may also view Reserve Film and Video Collection material on site by appointment. Appointments may be made at the 2nd floor Reference Desks or by calling (212) 870-1741.

Users must complete a one-time registration form (.pdf) before borrowing Reserve Film and Video Collection material. Access to the collection is available only through advance reservation. Reservations to view or borrow material must be made at least one week in advance. Reservations may be made in person or by telephone.

The Circulating Performing Arts Collections and the Billy Rose Theater Divisions' specialized circulating and reference book collections support the study, critical analysis, and enjoyment of the cinematic arts.

The book collections focus on the historical development and progression of both film and video; film/video direction and production; screenplays; film/video genres; national cinemas; biographies; and indexes to film literature. All reference books are non-circulating, and must be consulted on site.

Periodicals and Newsletters:
Periodicals and their indexes are for reference use only. Our holdings can be found in the Library Catalog. In addition, there are newsletters related to the subject of independent film and video. All magazines are non-circulating, and must be consulted on site. We also offer specialized databases, which are only available for use at the Library for the Performing Arts.