The Cooper Union Foundation Building Library

The Library is located on the ground floor of The Cooper Union Foundation Building.  The Library's collections include those of the Visual Resources Center and the Cooper Archives as well.  By extension it is the goal of the Library to make information literacy and the development of critical evaluative judgment an invaluable part of each student's experience.  The librarians teach the students research techniques and information evaluation criteria, so that they may be prepared to select and apply the information necessary to address concerns of architecture throughout their careers.

The Library takes pride in its excellent architecture book collection, which is shaped to serve the School of Architecture’s mission, strategic plan and curriculum.  The collection covers the history of world architecture, with a special emphasis on 19th to 21st century movements and contains substantial holdings on significant European and American architects such as The Walter Gropius Archive, The Mies van der Rohe Archive, The Architectural Drawings of Alvar Aalto, the Louis I. Kahn  Archive, a 12- volume set of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and his Selected Drawings Portfolio.

Architecture from older eras is equally well represented including (for example) a sizeable collection of works on Andrea Palladio and Karl Friedrich Schinkel (notably Collection of Architectural Designs).

For the study of historical Manhattan, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909 by I.N.P. Stokes is an invaluable library resource as is the Sanborn Manhattan Landbook of the City of New York for the contemporary city, with its detailed block-by-block real property maps.

The collection reflects the orientation and emphasis of the architecture curriculum as it has evolved since the early 1970s.  Although history of architecture is strongly represented, resources relating to 20th century architecture, theory and criticism are the hallmarks of the collection. Special efforts have been made in recent years to enrich the collection with studies of non-Western architecture.  Urban Studies has continued to be emphasized in the selection process and the collection of titles on sustainable and green architecture as well as architecture and technology is growing steadily.

Students and faculty have full access to the collections of the Research Library Association of South Manhattan, commonly called the “Consortium”, which include’s NYU’s Bobst Library. Extensive resources can also be found in the metropolitan area such as the Art and Architecture Research Division of the New York Public Library, the Stephen Chan Library of N.Y.U.'s Institute of Fine Arts, The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library of Columbia University, the New-York Historical Society and the museum and municipal libraries, comprehensive collections unmatched practically anywhere else in the world.

Periodical collections are provided in a combination of print and electronic formats either through individual title subscriptions or database packages such as Wilson Select Plus, JSTOR Arts and Sciences III and V as well as Proquest Platinum Periodicals.  The following architecture periodical indexes are available in print and/or electronic format: Art Abstracts; Art Index Retrospective; and the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals.  Architectural Publications Index (formerly Architectural Periodicals Index) is available at N.Y.U.'s Bobst Library, one of the Consortium libraries.

Sixty Nine titles indexed in Art Abstracts 69 are available in the Library in print and 131 are available via the full-text Web-format database WilsonSelect Plus (see below).  The Library also has 175 titles indexed in the Avery Index, which the library now subscribes to in Web format.

The Library's Visual Resources collection consists (as of June 30, 2009) of 62,232 slides, 6,314 digital images, 219 films, 431 videos (tapes), 43 laser disks, 1144 DVDs, 2640 maps, several thousand pictures and sets of blueprints of campus buildings, including detailed plans by John Hejduk (former Dean of School of Architecture) for the renovation of Cooper's landmark Foundation Building. Architectural images account for 20,336 of the slides, 2,975 of the digital images and more than 40% of the picture collection.

To access The Cooper Union Library website, click HERE.


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.