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Victoria & Albert Museum

V&A curtails access to its national collections of slides and books

National Slide Library transfer to Leicester to proceed in spite of protests

Despite protests, the National Art Slide Library, currently housed in the V&A, is to close at the end of this month prior to its transfer to Leicester Polytechnic and a postal service, (see the letter from Professor Martin Kemp in the February issue of The Art Newspaper). Although the slide library was never intended to operate as a public service, the growth in the teaching of art history in recent years has meant that the removal of this resource will cause severe problems for free-lance art historians who are prevented both by copyright laws and expense from building up their own slide collections. A meeting of representatives of the Association of Art Historians with the Director of the V&A, Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, on 7 February, discussed a compromise solution of housing a limited selection of the most-used slides in the London area during the eighteen-month move. A suitable location is now being sought. Due to lack of seating space the V&A now allows only final year students to use the National Art Library regularly. First and second year students have “five lives” per year and have to produce a card on which each visit is struck off in turn.