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Artists' Books: Using the Artists' Books Collection

The library's artists' books collection contains over 1,760 books, and the library is constantly adding more artists' books.

Policies

The Library’s artists’ books collection requires special care and is shelved in a secure area. Selections from the collection are often displayed in the library. You may request individual artists’ books to look at in the library; ask the staff for help.

  • You will need to present your CIA ID and have a clear library record to request a book.
  • You must look at the book at the table directly across from the desk.
  • Handle the books with care -- they are works of art.
  • Please have clean hands.
  • If taking notes, you are asked to use a pencil, not a pen.
  • Photocopying is not permitted, but you make take a photo for personal study.

Searching the artists' books collection

It takes several steps to see a list of all artists’ books in the library’s collection, but is worth the effort if a complete list is what you are seeking. Using the library's online catalog:

  • Select the online catalog’s “advanced search” option
  • From the top tab options, click on “subject”
  • Within the subject screen, click “genre subject”
  • Type “artists books” in the dialog box
  • When you get the SUBJECT pick list, click on “artists’ books”
  • After you get the results list, you limit your search to the CIA Library by clicking on the “limit/sort search” button and then selecting CIA library

To find artists’ books by a specific artist using the library's online catalog:

  • Select the online catalog’s “advanced search” option
  • Type “artists books” in the first dialog box and change that box search to SUBJECT
  • Type the artist’s last name in the second dialog box and change the box search to AUTHOR
  • Limit your search to the CIA Library and then submit

To find artists’ books on a specific subject using the library's online catalog:

  • Select the online catalog’s “advanced search” option
  • Type “artists books” in the first dialog box and change that box search to SUBJECT
  • Type the  topic in the second dialog box and change the box search to SUBJECT
  • Limit your search to the CIA Library and click submit

If you do not get any results or too few results, start a new search:

  • Select the online catalog’s “advanced search” option
  • Type “artists books” in the first dialog box and change that box search to SUBJECT
  • Type the  topic in the second dialog box and leave the box search to ANY FIELD
  • Limit your search to the CIA Library and click submit

You can also use the “advanced search” of the online catalog to find artists’ books with a certain characteristic (such as a binding style like scroll, Coptic binding, or gate fold), using specific artistic process (collage, Xerox, rubber stamp, etc.), or made with different types of materials (for example, handmade paper or acrylic). This same strategy will work to find artists’ books published by a specific press (Perishable Press, Something Else Press, etc.).

  • Type “artists books” in the first dialog box and change that box search to SUBJECT
  • Type descriptive term of interest (binding style, materials, press, and so on) in the second dialog box and leave the box search to ANY FIELD
  • Limit your search to the CIA Library

 

Use ARTstor to find artists’ book images.  You can search the entire collection or limit your search to “CIA Artists’ Books Collection” (which is a small selection for the library’s large collection), or “Shared Shelf Commons” collections of Bucknell University or the Joseph C. Sloane Art Library (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

You must be logged into Artstor to download images. If you have not yet set up an account, the library staff can help you, or you could watch the library’s video that will walk you through the process of setting up one.  Please be sure to use your CIA email address!

For see more images of artists’ books, please see this guide’s page on web resources.

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Still not finding what you want?

The library staff is very familiar with this collection and is glad to help you use this collection --  Just ask!