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SCAD Library Atlanta Special Collections


This guide will help you use library tools to find information, inspiration and research on artists' books; as well as how to access the collection. 

Riptides, 2019 - Heather Doyle-Maier

Riptides by Heather Doyle, 2019

What is an Artists' Book?

Artists' books encompass a wide range of processes and materials and can be hard to define. Most simply, artists' books are works of art that are in book form or inspired by the book. Artists' books may or may not have text; some artists' books have images, but not all do. As a fine art, artists' books are the vision and creation of an artist. There are exceptions to most limitations one could apply to the medium. Most importantly, artists' books are interactive; they are intended to be read and handled by an individual. That makes them unique among many other fine arts in collections, which viewers are prohibited from touching. A core motivation of artists who turned to book making in the 1960s was to remove their work from the restrictive and elitist environments of museums and galleries. They wanted to make art more accessible and democratic by producing multiples and expanding the reach of their artwork to untapped audiences.

Artists' Books at SCAD Atlanta

SCAD Library Atlanta has a collection of over 2,500 artists' books. SCAD's Artists' Book collection contains unique works by individual artists, student work, small editions and books from fine arts presses. The collection is unusual in its variety; it includes works from more than 1,000 artists and has a deep repository of books ranging from the 1960s through contemporary works. Of particular note is a large collection of Nexus Press books produced right here in Atlanta from 1978-2003. The SCAD's Artists' Book Collection also houses a collection of student work from our Artists' Book Competitions, these are one-of-a-kind pieces that cannot be found anywhere else.  

Click here to search artists' books in Atlanta

Click here to search digitized artists' books in the collection

Journeying by Mary V. Marsh and Tony Bellaver, 2011

How to access the Artists' Book Collection

SCAD's philosophy is that the Artists' Book Collection is a teaching collection. The library offers class visits, workshops, and individual appointments to see the collection. Students, faculty, and the public can make appointments to visit the collection, gain inspiration for their own creative projects, and engage in hands-on object-based research utilizing the unique collections. 


 The library offers curated pulls focused on one topic, project, or technique as well as general pulls that highlight the collection fully. Regardless of your department, we have inspiration for your next assignment. Faculty are encouraged to request instruction sessions at least two weeks in advance, in order to maximize staff planning, and space availability. If you would like to schedule an appointment for your class please fill out this form. 


You may request a consultation individually or as a group to view anything from Special Collections, specific topics are welcomed but can also accommodate general pulls. Please schedule your appointment least two business days ahead of when you'd like to visit. It is helpful to share any details about your project, or if there's anything particular you'd like to see, either by artist, title, type of structure or technique, or subject matter. If you would like to schedule a consultation please fill out this form. 


The Library has rotating exhibits in the Artists' Book Collection Exhibit room as well as in the Cube. The exhibition room is located in room 444 in the library, just past the cube to the right. The cube is at the entrance of the library. Exhibits are rotated bi-monthly, this is always a great place to get inspiration if you do not have time for a consultation or instruction.