Pictured above are the current contents of the Crouch Fine Arts Library’s display at Baylor University Library in Waco, Texas. For the month of February 2014, a small but eclectic group of selections from the Baylor Artist Book Collection pertaining to *LOVE* in its varied manifestations engages viewers with themes as diverse as the playful revision of Shakespearian dialogue in r&j: the txt message edition to more jaded reflections in Heart Assortment: A Bittersweet Sampler.
Many academic libraries have artist book collections of various sizes and scopes. Some institutions collect regionally, thematically, or structurally, while others prefer a mix of all types and kinds. Collection scale, of course, depends heavily on the acquisitions budget. Art librarians have found artist books to be interesting objects for display within their libraries and useful tools for developing interdisciplinary relationships with faculty and students. The Baylor Artist Book Collection is often requested for art department classes, but is also requested by professors from other departments. An emerging trend at Baylor is engagement by students in the Medical Humanities program.
For more information on the collection see http://www.researchguides.baylor.edu/heartbooks.
What other ways are artist book collections used in libraries? Do you or would you collect artist books in your role as an art librarian? Why do you think these types of collections are popular in an increasingly digital age?