This week, I began to get acquainted with the Artists' Book Collection. The Herron Art Library has approximately 400 fine press and artists' books in the collection, including several books by prominent book artists Julie Chen, Rebecca Goodale, Lois Morrison, Carol Schwartzot, Bonnie Stahlecker, Karen Baldner, and Paul Brown. The Herron Art Library believes that providing our faculty and students with examples of book arts will greatly enhance the quality of education at Herron School of Art and Design.
Artists books can include books that are entirely handmade or mass-produced. The key distinction is that artists' books are made or designed by artists with the intention of the book being the art object, as a means to share with others. There are variations on this concept, with some artists more focused on the content of the book, while others make the form and material of the book their art.
I worked with Jake, who is a pursuing his MFA in Photography, as he documented some of the artist books. As an artist and librarian, I find it very important to document artist books so that viewers may see how to interact with them. I really wish that the IU Fine Arts Library were able to document their artist book collection. Especially with the library closing/moving, I am very concerned with the amount of access that artists, researchers, patrons, and faculty will have to the collection afterward. If any institution or library has an artist book collection, it is imperative that they document it and place it online so that users are able to see it. What is the point of collecting artist books and no allowing them to seen or used.