Artists’ Books Collection Development: Considerations for New Selectors and Collections

D. Courtenay McLeland


In the 2010 survey Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives, artists’ books were the specific genre most often identified as a new collecting area within library special collections departments. For librarians at institutions without an artists’ books collection, beginning and sustaining the growth of a new collection can be an exciting and challenging opportunity to become acquainted with an additional area of specialized knowledge. Other librarians may be at institutions that possess a fledgling collection of artists’ books but find that collecting priorities or guidelines need to be determined prior to more active collection development efforts. In the fall of 2016, with the goal of identifying current and established collection models, the author visited librarians working with collections of artists’ books, distributed an online survey, and conducted a selective literature review. This article presents patterns identified in the survey results.

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