Art and Design Collection Policy Statement

August 2007


1. Purpose
2. Collection Scope: Subject, Language, Geographic, and Chronological
3. Format
4. Exclusions
5. Interdisciplinary and Cooerative Relationships
6. Visual Resources Collection
7. Art, Architecture and Engineering Special Collections
8. Collection Levels by Subject

1. Purpose

Serving the School of Art and Design

The University of Michigan School of Art and Design ranks among the finest in the country in both graduate and undergraduate education and faculty renown. The School is comprised of forty-three faculty members, nine adjunct faculty, and nine faculty whose primary appointments are outside of the School of Art & Design. As of Fall 2007 there were approximately thirty graduate students and 500 undergraduates enrolled in the School of Art and Design.

Degrees and Specializations

The School of Art & Design’s undergraduate curriculum, implemented in the 2002/2003 academic year, prepares graduates for a broad range of careers. It integrates art and design methodologies, interweaves traditional techniques with contemporary technologies, bridges the personal to the social, and engages the rich resources of the University and the community. This program also includes opportunities for international study and internships and undergraduate student exhibitions. The first two years of the four-year program are highly structured; the second two are extraordinarily flexible. Career exploration and planning start in the first year.

In the fall of 2003, the School of Art & Design launched a unique three-year M.F.A. program structured to expand the intellectual reach of creative work, and utilize a comprehensive process for bringing creative work into the world. In this program, all graduate students are required to reach beyond the cultures of art and design to develop robust engagements with one or more fields of knowledge and inquiry at the University of Michigan. Students are expected to carry out creative work informed by and interacting with the additional field of inquiry.

2. Collection Scope: Subject, Language, Geographic, and Chronological


The art and design funds allocated to the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library are used to support the purchase of materials of research and instructional value in the areas of art, design, and scientific illustration. Selected materials are generally classed under the N, NB, NC, ND, NE, NK, NX, PN 6700 and TR divisions of the LC schedule. Divisions within this range are most often subdivided by country or culture, or classified directly by monument name or artist. Major headings within this range include: visual art in general, sculpture, drawing, design, illustration, painting, print media, decorative and applied arts, sequential art and photography.

Works relating to most aspects of the field of contemporary fine and studio art are collected. These areas include art collaboration, ceramics, fibers, graphic design, industrial design, metalwork/jewelry design, mixed media, painting, photography, history of photography, installation art, kinetic art, printmaking, public art , sculpture, scientific illustration, performance, and multimedia. Also collected are items concerned with technique, non- traditional use of materials, and new schools and movements in art.

The Art, Architecture and Engineering Library collects heavily those art and design materials dealing with modern and contemporary art, with strongest emphasis on the 1950s to the present. Generally speaking, materials covering this time period which are of a significantly pictorial nature are collected in depth, while those of an exclusively critical/textual nature are collected by the University of Michigan Fine Arts Library. Nonetheless, many of these critical materials are included in the art and design collection when they support the curriculum. Duplication does occur with other campus libraries, and efforts are made to minimize this whenever possible.


Materials on art and design are purchased in English when available. Materials published in languages other than English are purchased selectively, and are generally sought only if: 1) the materials are unavailable in English, 2) they contain significant graphic content with value independent from text, or 3) the original language is seen to be important for the proper study and use of the material.


Geographic coverage of the Western World is reasonably in-depth with special emphasis placed upon North America and Europe, especially the United States. Works relating to the contemporary art of non-western cultures are also collected. Works relating to the historical art of non-western cultures are only collected very generally. Other libraries responsible for the collection of historical and/or non-Western art materials include the Fine Arts Library, the Asia Library, and the Hatcher Graduate Library.


A basic collection of materials on art and design prior to 1950 is maintained when items are broad in scope, and when they support the curriculum. In general, art historical and critical works on topics before 1950 are collected by the Fine Arts Library which primarily supports the needs of the History of Art Department. Some materials dealing with aesthetics are collected by the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library when they reflect issues of current interest to artists.

Preference is given to current publications in the field. Retrospective purchases are made in order to fill gaps and add depth to areas where needed, to support new areas of teaching and research, and to replace missing items when available.

3. Format

The Art, Architecture and Engineering Library purchases paper copies of monographic and serial works to meet the curriculum and research needs of the School of Art and Design faculty and students. In addition, the following formats are collected: videos, slides, digital images, CD-ROMs, DVDs, multimedia books/journals, microforms, and some limited collecting of artists books. The collection also contains some 16mm films which the library maintains but does not currently purchase except in rare instances. Exhibition catalogs and catalogues raisonnes are purchased as they support the curriculum and collection scope. Rare and primary source materials are purchased very selectively.

4. Exclusions

Most textbooks and publications designated as “popular” or written for a non-academic audience are excluded.

5. Interdisciplinary and Cooperative Relationships

Interdisciplinary relationship within the Art, Architecture & Engineering Library

The close interrelationship that exits between the discipline of art and design and that of architecture and urban planning can often result in overlaps in collection policies. In recognition of this interdisciplinary relationship, the art and design selector works closely with the architecture and urban planning selector to coordinate selection activities for the purpose of minimizing duplications.

Cooperative Relationships within the University Library

The art and design component of the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library engages in cooperative collection development with other University of Michigan libraries, particularly the Fine Arts Library, the Hatcher Graduate Library, and the Special Collections Library. Some items are duplicated when necessary because of the importance of the work, or the projected use by the art and design faculty.

The Fine Arts Library collects materials on the art of antiquity, and other topics before roughly 1950. Fine Arts also collects heavily in the areas of art criticism of this time period. The Hatcher Graduate Library is the primary collector of items on aesthetics. It is also responsible for the selection of other art and design topics including folk art, ancient non-Western art, the history of taste, book illustration, illumination of manuscripts, art and history, art and religion, art and society, and some art criticism. The Special Collections Library collects books in the fine arts which demonstrate especially fine printing, are in limited edition, or have other qualities which make them suitable for that collection.

Cooperative Relationships outside the University Library

The art and design collection offers rich resources to researchers throughout the country and the world through a number of consortia and cooperative agreements with other research libraries. These relationships include the Research Libraries Group (RLG), Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC - Big 10 institutions plus the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois, Chicago), and Michigan Research Libraries Triangle (MRLT). The collection is also made available to Michigan public libraries through the M-Link program.

Other libraries in the area with significant library holdings in art and design include Eastern Michigan University, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit Public Library, and the Toledo Museum of Art.

6. Visual Resources Collection

The Visual Resources Collection is a centralized facility for image capture. The unit is committed to the retention of images available in a stable format appropriate to the disciplines supported by the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library. The collection is currently configured based on digital images, DVDs and videos. There is also a significant collection of 35mm slides. In addition there are some earlier formats and some original material. In the art and design portions of the visual resources collection, materials are acquired to support current teaching and research. This almost always limits the acquisition of information to works and objects produced in the 20th and 21st centuries. Greatest attention is given to supporting curricular needs of permanent members of the art and design faculty.

7. Art, Architecture and Engineering Special Collections

The Art, Architecture and Engineering Special Collections includes rare, fragile, and/or limited publication materials relating to art and design, as well as architecture and urban planning. Newer editions include limited publication art monographs and facsimiles (e.g., sketchbooks from Le Corbusier's travels in Germany and Asia and The Jackson Pollock sketchbooks in the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Strengths in the special collections area include publications from the first decades of the twentieth century, especially those by Le Corbusier, various Dutch and German architects and designers from the Bauhaus (especially pertaining to early twentieth-century urban design and architecture), and work published by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. In addition, there are several thousand early twentieth-century black and white photographs and postcards documenting much art and architecture of Western Europe before the wars. A collection of artist's books is also being developed and includes work by Julie Chen, Emily Martin, Ronald King, Claire Van Vliet, and other notable book artists.

These rare and special materials provide a valuable teaching tool to introduce students to historical editions of works, as well as primary source materials. They also offer a potential area of development in building on current strengths, as well as in developing a collection with a strong identity and role in University of Michigan art, architectural, and urban planning studies.


8. Collection Levels by Subject
I = Instructional Level, R = Research Level

Subject Level Inclusions and Related Resources
General art related issues R  
Advertising Arts I  
Aesthetics/Criticism, post-1850 I  
Art/community Development I The Graduate and Undergraduate Libraries have significant holdings in this area.
Art Education I The Graduate and Undergraduate Libraries have significant holdings in this area.
Arts Administration I The Graduate Library has some holdings in this area.
Ceramics R  
Comic Books and Graphic Novels I  
Computer Graphics I  
Digital Art R  
Drawing/Painting R The Fine Arts Library emphasizes the collection of topics before 1950; The Asia Library collects in Asian Art materials.
Economic/Legal Issues for Artists I  
Fibers R The Fine Arts and Graduate Library collect in materials and topics before 1950.
Glass I The Toledo Museum of Art has strong holdings in this area.
Graphic Design R  
Graphic/Visual Communications R  
Illustration I  
Industrial Design R  
Metalwork/Jewelry R The Fine Arts Library emphasizes the collection of topics before 1875, and the History of Jewelry including Antiques.
Multimedia Art I  
Performance Art I The Graduate, Undergraduate, and Fine Arts Library all have significant holdings in this area.
Photography R  
Photography, History of R  
Printmaking R The Fine Arts Library and the Graduate Library emphasize the collection of topics before 1950.
Scientific Illustration I Taubman Medical Library has significant holdings in this subject.
Sculpture R The Fine Arts Library emphasizes the collection of topics before 1950.
Typography I The Graduate Library collects materials in this area which are related to Journalism, Advertising, etc.
Woodworking I  
Page maintained by Sara M. Samuel
Last modified: 06/15/2012