Subjects covered by the Library include those that are central to the collections of the Museum, and its focus on design:
- Prints, drawings, photographs and paintings
- Furniture and woodwork
- Textiles, fashion and dress
- Ceramics and glass
- The art and design of the Middle East, Far East, India and South East Asia
- The history of the art, craft and design of the book
This core material is supplemented by literature from a much broader subject field including, for example, a strong collection of documentation about architecture. Relevant materials are acquired in Western European, as well as some Asian, languages. Holdings of the V&A`s departmental libraries are also included in the catalogue, of which the most distinctive covers theatre and performance.
Searchable holdings (5/2010): 830,000 bibliographic records, including monographs, rare books and special collections, exhibition catalogues, auction house sale catalogues, trade literature, information files, periodicals, manuscripts, multimedia and electronic material. The periodical records constitute the union catalogue of serials for art and design libraries throughout the UK and Ireland ('ARLIS.NET'), and have their holdings added. The catalogue also contains group-level descriptions for around 300 archives of designers, artists, associations and companies, held in the V&A`s Archive of Art and Design.