Reading service


Available resources

The reading service provides consultation of the physical and digital holdings of the Gulbenkian Art Library and Archives, both its current collections and its special collections, including collections and archives.

It also offers, in free access, a reference collection and a set of books and recent issues of periodical publications.

Consultation of the collection can take place in different spaces, depending on the nature and format of the documentation and its access status:

  • Room for reading documentation in physical format, with a capacity of 86 seats
  • Area for the reading of digitised documentation, with a capacity of 4 seats
  • Research rooms

The reading service has photocopy machines and a scanner that allow the reproduction, provided that in strict compliance with the legal provisions in force, of documents without the status of “Restricted access” from the Library collections. These machines are available on a self-service basis and are switched off at 18:45 (17:15 during Summertime).  For further information see Document Reproduction.

The reading service also provides access to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s wireless network.


Booking of documentation

Only users of the Gulbenkian Art Library and Archives with a valid subscription can book documentation (See User Registration).


Booking of documentation without access restrictions

Documentation from the Art Library collection that does not have “Restricted” access status must be reserved remotely under the following conditions:

  1. The documentation booked by 17:00 of a working day may be consulted in person between 10:00 and 19:00 of the following working day.
  2. Documentation booked after 17:00 on a working day can only be consulted in person between 10:00 and 19:00 on the second following working day (Example: if you book a work after 17:00 on Tuesday, this work can only be consulted in person between 10:00 and 19:00 on Thursday).
  3. Documentation booked between 17:00 on Friday and 24:00 on Sunday will not be available for viewing until the following Tuesday.


How to make a booking?

To make an advance booking you must:

  • Consult the Library catalogue available on the Internet and carry out research.
  • Select the titles you wish to book (the maximum number of titles you can book depends on the user category assigned to you during your registration).
  • Book the selected titles by following the steps indicated in the catalogue.

The total number of bookings that can be processed and supplied on a single day by the reading service is limited. If your booking exceeds this daily limit you will be notified by the system, in which case you must re-submit another booking on another day.

Without prejudice to the general rule of advance booking to be submitted remotely, users may, as a complement or reinforcement of the consultation of the documentation previously requested, ask for authorisation to request up to 3 additional copies.

New readers who register in person at the Reference Service, if there are vacancies in the reading room, will also have the possibility, following that registration, to request up to 3 copies.

In any case, the on-site requisition of items for reading ends at 17:00.


Booking of documentation with access restrictions

The booking and consultation of documentation in physical or digital format with access restrictions – whether for reasons of conservation, organisation and control, or due to legal constraints relating to the protection of copyright and related rights, personality rights, namely personal data, or any other legal or contractual impediment – as well as that of the Gulbenkian Archives, require prior authorisation, which may be requested in person at the Reference Service or via the following e-mail addresses:

Art Library Collection: [email protected]
Gulbenkian Archives: [email protected]

To this end, the following data should be provided:

  • User identification
  • User code (card code)
  • Identification of the documentation to be accessed, using, whenever available, the catalogue references
  • Reasons justifying the consultation


On-site consultation of documentation

After having made an advance reservation for the documentation you wish to consult, go to the reading service of the Art and Archives Library (Information and contacts) on the appropriate day for the time when the booking was made, in accordance with that stipulated above (See Booking of documentation without access restrictions).

In the case of requests for documentation in physical or digital format with restricted access, its consultation, if authorised, must take place on the day and time agreed with the reading service and notified by e-mail.

The consultation of documentation in any Reading Room space must end 15 minutes before the closing time of the service (18:45 in wintertime and 17:15 in summertime).


Research rooms

Research rooms are available for researchers conducting research projects that involve intensive use of information sources from the collections of the Art Library and/or the Gulbenkian Archives.

The allocation of research rooms depends on their availability at each moment and is carried out for maximum periods of 3 months.

Users of the Gulbenkian Art Library and Archives may apply for a research room by submitting a reasoned application which should be sent to [email protected], with the following details:

  • Identification
  • Academic or scientific affiliation
  • Description of the research project, including information on the strategy for consulting and exploiting the information and documentation resources of the Gulbenkian Art Library and Archives
  • Planned period of use
  • Opinion of the institution where he/she is affiliated or of the Project advisor


In return, the researcher shall offer the Gulbenkian Art Library and Archives a copy of the outcome of his research, together with the right to integrate it into the collections and to make it available to the public within an agreed period.

Updated on 14 december 2021

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