This is the "Getting Started" page of the "Architecture Research" guide.
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Architecture Research  

Last Updated: Dec 9, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Alhambra - Exterior of the Court of the Lions

image from the Saskia Expanded Gardner Set

Library Information



This guide is a good first place when starting to do research in Architecture and related fields. All of the information is intended to make it easier for you, but please remember that the reference librarians are always around to help.

New York City is full of libraries. If you aren't finding what you need at The Cooper Union Library, we can always help find another library where you can find what you need.


Collections in the Cooper Union Library

Material can be found throughout the Library arranged within particular collections by call number. The trick is knowing to which collection the item belongs. Some are available in the public areas of the Library, and some are not.


The Main collection is the largest and most comprehensive. These are the books in the open stacks. Books with 'N' call numbers are in the alcove rooms on the East side of the Library.

Not everything in the Main collection circulates.


Located towards the front of the stacks, the Reference collection contains material in all subject areas. Typically, these sources contain information that needs to be consulted rather than read in depth.

Reference material is non-circulating.


Located behind the Circulation Desk, Reserve materials have been requested by faculty as readings for particular classes. The books my be used in the Library for 2 hours during the day, and possibly can be borrowed overnight after 4pm.

Request these items by call number at the Circulation Desk.


Most of the Periodicals are shelved in the last room on the East side, shelved alphabetically by journal name. Current issues of many of the Library's subscriptions are displayed in the Atrium. Some periodicals are also shelved in the Closed Stacks or the Mezzanine. Speak with a Librarian if you are not finding what you need.

Periodicals are non-circulating.

Closed Stacks

These books are valuable and difficult to replace. Some are rare and unusual, some are elaborately illustrated or have fine bindings. These books are non-circulating.

Request these items by call number at the Circulation Desk.


The circulating video collection -- both VHS and DVD -- are shelved in the Atrium, near the displayed Periodicals. These appear in the Library catalog and can be borrowed for three days.

The Closed Stack or non-circulating videos are kept in Visual Resources. They show up in the online catalog, but they are non-circulating. They can be  viewed in the Library during regular hours. You should plan ahead to view something in the evenings or during the weekend.


Located in the third room on the East side, these books are too large to be shelved with the rest of the Main collection. There are two sections -- regular Oversize, which stand upright, and Flat Oversize, which lay flat. All subject areas are found here.

In the Library catalog, the call number would indicated Oversize.


This collection is shelved in our storage facility. Someone will retrieve the items for you. Most of the materials on the Mezzanine are non-circulating.

Ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.

Sanborn's Manhattan Land Book

Located on the right side of the Circulation Desk, one page at a time may be removed for scanning and copying within the Library. You must leave your ID while you are using it.

Visual Resources

Located on the Mezzanine level of the Library, up the back stairs near the copiers. The collection includes slides, film, videos and maps. Open only to Cooper faculty, students and staff. Students may only borrow slides for required presentations. More information is available on the Web site.


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Claire Gunning
Contact Info
t: 212-353-4189
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Areas of Responsibility:
Reference, Circulation (Integrated Library System), Stack Maintenance.
MS, Library & Information Science, The Catholic University of America; BA, Art History, Haverford College, majored at Bryn Mawr College.

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