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Book Arts Collection

A guide to discovering artists' books in the Book Arts Collection at Hill Memorial Library.


What is this Guide For? 

This Research Guide is designed to help you browse the Book Arts Collection at LSU. These items are not in the open shelves of the Main Library, but instead are held in the Special Collections Library. This guide will help you visualize what some of the different materials in this collection look like, and assist you search the catalog to find even more interesting items within this collection.

What Are Book Arts, What are Artists' Books & What is the Book Arts Collection?  

Book Arts is a rather broad term that includes many types of things. Books with special bindings, special printing techniques, and many other special features are considered Book Arts. You can learn more about traditional Book Arts techniques in the "History of Books and Printing" LibGuide.

Artists use the elements of Book Arts to create books or book objects called Artists' Books. Artists' Books are often among the most unique holdings in many libraries and special collections. Some showcase artworks, some are an artistic rethinking of the book form, and some explore the intimate relationship between reader and book. Browsing the selected items featured in this guide will give you a glimpse of these materials.

Here at LSU Libraries, like in many other libraries, we group many of these special types of books together to make them easier to find. We call this group the Book Arts Collection. It includes many things, and is full of surprises. 

What Kind of Book Arts Does LSU Libraries Have?  Riverine by Sara White

In short: We have a lot. The Book Arts Collection at Hill Memorial Library encompasses an exciting variety of materials. 

The Rare Book Collection Development Policy puts it a bit more formally: "Materials are acquired to provide support for graduate teaching of book history, and undergraduate and graduate teaching of book arts, including design and typography. Examples of historical and modern presses noted for quality of work and/or innovation are acquired. The aim is to create a collection with strength in its breadth rather than in comprehensiveness of coverage for a narrow area. However, several book designers, presses and/or publishers are collected comprehensively: book designer Bruce Rogers, Janus Press (Claire Van Vliet), Book Club of California, Limited Editions Club to 1992, Tragara Press. Other presses, such as the Arion Press and Circle Press are collected intensively. In addition, good exemplars of artists' books, as well as books about book arts are collected: design binding, publishers' binding, book illustration and printmaking, papermaking, marbling, fore-edge painting."

As of 2022, Zines have begun to be added to the Book Arts Collection as well.

How to Search the Book Arts Collection

To narrow your search to the Book Arts Collection, use the Advanced Search feature of the catalog.

Link to LSU Catalog Advanced Search

Next, limit the Series to "Book Arts Collection" by typing in that exact phrase.

Screenshot of Advanced Search catalog page with Series limited to Book Arts Collection.

Any other keyword or subject searches you add will reveal results that are only in the Book Arts Collection series. Results may include artists' books, theory, manuals, book history, etc.

Example of possible search:

Screenshot of Advanced Search with Series limited to "Book Arts Collection" and All Fields search term "handmade paper"

Results of the above search yields 72 titles to explore!

Screenshot of 72 retrieved results from the search "handmade paper" in the "Book Arts Collection" series.

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