Outgoing Loan Program Guidelines

The New York Public Library extends the public’s access to its collections by making a broad array of collections available through the Outgoing Loan Program to a wide variety of cultural institutions locally, nationally, and internationally for exhibitions. These programs are a central part of the Library’s mission to inspire lifelong learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen our communities.

The Outgoing Loan Program for external exhibitions is administered by the Registrar’s Office in the Department of Collections Management.

Submission of Loan Request and Approval Process

An official letter of request must be sent to the appropriate NYPL curatorial division at least nine months prior to the borrower’s exhibition opening date in order to ensure  adequate time to assess the requested objects and process the request. Loan requests are then subject to approval by the Library’s Loan Committee, which meets quarterly. Requests for high-value objects will also be subject to approval by Board of Trustees. Loan requests for more than ten items will be subject to special consideration with regard to the Library's current resources and priorities. NYPL may need to reduce the number of items requested in collaboration with the borrower and may decline some large loan requests outright.

The borrower must provide the following information on institutional letterhead, either mailed or emailed as an attachment, in the loan request letter:

  1. Exhibition title and name of curator.

  2. Name, address, and opening and closing dates of all venues. Additional venues announced after the loan is approved by the Loan Committee will require a new loan request and approval.

  3. Brief description of exhibition content.

  4. A complete and final list of requested objects accompanied by a full description, including title, author/artist, NYPL curatorial division, and classmark, and page or page opening (when applicable).

  5. A completed American Alliance  of Museums (AAM) Standard Facility Report for all venues.

Loans cannot be considered without an AAM Facility Report.

NYPL expects borrowers to observe professional standards throughout the exhibition process, including factors like security, transportation methods, storage, and maintenance of suitable environmental conditions.

Loan Agreement

NYPL issues its own loan agreement forms following the approval of the loan by the Loan Committee and does not sign other institutions’ loan agreement forms.

Packing/Transportation/Courier Requirements

The Registrar’s Office must approve the packing, shipper, and shipping method for the borrowed objects. An NYPL courier may be required to oversee the transportation and installation of loans as needed. When a courier is required, any display cases containing NYPL materials must be locked/sealed in the presence of the courier and not reopened until an NYPL courier returns at the close of the exhibition.

For loans that are travelling via passenger aircraft, as the NYPL is not a Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF), crates will be screened at a CCSF of the NYPL’s choice en route to the airport at borrower’s expense.

Preparation and Conservation Treatment

NYPL will prepare all objects, including arranging for the fabrication of book mounts, so that the borrower receives them "exhibition ready". All preparation of loans must be performed by the NYPL. All expenses incurred for the display of loans, including preparation or conservation treatment required to enable the objects to be safely lent, are the borrower’s responsibility.

In the event that a conservator in private practice or other consultant must be hired to treat or prepare the loans, NYPL will notify the borrower in advance and provide an estimate. The borrower is responsible for all associated fees.


Each item selected for exhibition or display is evaluated individually by conservation staff to determine its suitability for exhibition and its individual light exposure requirements. Visible light levels (between approximately 400 and 700 nm) are commonly set at no more than 3 to 5 footcandles (30 to 50 lux) for sensitive collection materials and at no more than 10 footcandles (100 lux) for more stable collection materials. It’s possible that loans may be approved for a short duration only, rather than the full length of the exhibition, or that rotations may be required (when available). NYPL loans may not be exposed to natural light.

Facility and Environment

At all times, whether in storage or on display, borrowed objects shall be maintained in a monitored environment with environmental control. The borrower may be required to provide evidence of proper environmental conditions. Requests from institutions without relative humidity control will be declined.

If a loan to a new facility/gallery is considered, the borrowing institution will be required to demonstrate that the facility can fully meet the conditions of loan and may be required to provide at least three months of consistent environmental readings prior to shipment. NYPL may deny loans to inaugural exhibitions in untested venues.

All gallery construction must be completed before installing the NYPL loan. The borrowing institution must have professional staff available who are experienced in handling the requested type of material. Crates must acclimate for 24 hours prior to unpacking.

Food and drinks are not permitted in galleries where NYPL loans are displayed.


The borrower must provide wall-to-wall fine arts insurance coverage for the full value of the loaned works, without deductible. The Registrar’s Office will review the borrower’s insurance policy terms and reserves the right to decline it if the coverage is not suitable. In this event the NYPL will provide insurance coverage and the borrower will be responsible for the premium.

A certificate of insurance must be sent prior to the release of the loan, naming The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations as “Loss Payee” and The City of New York and The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations and its Trustees, officers, agents and employees as “Additional Insured”. The certificate shall include a waiver of subrogation by the borrower’s insurer with respect to the Library and the above-referenced additionally insured parties. Please note that the Library requires terrorism coverage.

In the event an appraisal of the items requested is necessary, the borrower will be responsible for the fees for an independent appraiser.


Any loss, damage, or deterioration of borrowed objects occurring in transit or on exhibition shall be reported immediately to the NYPL Registrar's Office. All incidents must be documented in photograph and written form. Except in the case of emergency, objects shall not be removed from the display cases, repaired, conserved, mended, or otherwise treated without the Library’s prior written approval.


All requests for images of borrowed objects, for catalogues, publicity, or any other purpose, should be directed to the Permissions department via NYPL’s website:  /help/get-what-you-need/photographic-services/obtaining-images.  

Please refer to the website for information about how to submit a photography request and fees, and contact the Permissions department with specific questions. Requests for images should be received no less than three months prior to the exhibition opening.

The borrower may make a photographic record of the exhibition cases and installation.

Written Materials

NYPL will provide the credit line to be used in all instances when referring to the borrowed objects. The credit line must be incorporated into all written and online mention of the borrowed works including catalogs, exhibit labels, and web features.


The borrower must provide NYPL with two complimentary copies of the exhibition catalogue/publication which should be sent directly to the Registrar’s Office.


In the event the borrower cancels the loan request, borrower is responsible for a cancellation fee for each object as well as any exhibition preparation or treatment costs already incurred.

Borrowing Costs

The borrower is responsible for all loan expenses, including but not limited to: insurance, loan fees, preparation fees, framing costs, book mounts, conservation treatment, crate construction/packing, shipping, customs brokers/documentation, and courier expenses (flights, hotel, per diem).

Please note that each page or part of an object that is prepared for loan is counted as one object for loan fee purposes. (For example, a manuscript with three pages, all of which are borrowed and prepared for exhibition, equals three objects: $250.00 x 3 = $750.00).

Loan Fee


per object/per venue

Preparation/Conservation Treatment


per hour



per hour

Cancellation Fee


per object



per hour

Frame Rental



16 x 20 inches (or smaller)


per object

22 x 28 inches


per object

24 x 30 inches


per object

30 x 40 inches


per object

Oversize frame (32 x 42”+)


per object



To be determined, based on the object


Courier Requirements

Couriers travel business class when accompanying collection items and economy class when traveling without collection items. Round-trip business class is required for flights longer than 10 hours.

Couriers must be provided with a 3-star hotel or higher within either walking distance or convenient transport to the installation site. Hotel accommodations must include free Wi-Fi service.

Domestic venues will provide no less than 2 nights hotel and 3 days per diem at USD $75 plus an additional USD $140 for taxis to/from airports.

Overseas venues will provide no less than 3 nights hotel and 4 days per diem at 75 euros (given in local currency) plus an additional 110 euros (given in local currency) for taxis to/from airports.

Asian/Australian venues will provide 4-5 nights hotel and 5-6 days per diem at 75 euros (given in local currency) plus an additional 110 euros (given in local currency) for taxis to/from airports.

Additional hotel nights and per diem might be required if the courier overnights at airports and/or en route.

Courier must be present for unpacking/packing and installation/de-installation.


For further information, please contact:

Registrar’s Office

The New York Public Library

476 Fifth Avenue, Room 56

New York, NY 10018

Telephone: 212-930-0541/212-930-0682