The ACA Library of SCAD has more than 2,000 artist’s books that are available for students to view and use as a resource. The collection of artist’s books includes artists such as Edward Ruscha, Sol LeWitt, Kara Walker, Kiki Smith, Yoko Ono and many more notable names you might recognize from art history.
These famous artist’s books are a resource that can greatly benefit students. The Smithsonian Libraries Blog defines artist’s books as “a medium of artistic expression that uses the form or function of ‘book’ as inspiration.” These books are crafted by artists in which they must make decisions about material, layout, structure and so on.
They aren’t normal books with traditional machine-made covers, pages and text. They challenge what we think of as a book. These books are often created in editions or, in some cases, only one is ever produced. Even when created in editions, not many of them are made, making them rare works of art. Thus, for more than 2,000 of these books to be resting in our library right upstairs where we often go to study art history, we would be making a monumental mistake to not view them.
That being said, these books are rare and fragile. They must be taken care of and preserved, even while on display. As such, the library keeps the artist books in a temperature, humidity and light controlled environment. Some artist’s books even require custom enclosures or unique treatments in order to extend their life span. We as viewers and students must also help preserve these works of art by asking a trained employee in the library before we view them. There is a small room at the entrance of the library to the right titled the “Artist’s Book Room” that rotates displays throughout the quarter.
This room is open to any student who wants to see the books. As for the more famous or rare artist’s books, certain classes will take their students up to view them. You can also make a special appointment with the Special Collections Librarian Elliot McNally at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to view the exact book you would like to see. Also, be sure to check out the SCAD Libraries’ Instagram to see a new special collections item every week at #artpuboftheweek.