The School of the Art Institute has a small library, but there are plenty of resources. They have hundreds of art-specific periodicals and thousands of art books. Other special materials include a catalog of sound effects for film students and rare film reels. It is a wonderful advantage to have the film reels because any of the staff are allowed access to them, and library staff will set the film up for them. Being an academic library like our own at Elmhurst College, it is interesting to see the difference in size of space and collection because of the areas of study. We have more areas of study and less magazines, where they have less areas of study and have more specific and more numerous magazine subscriptions. Unfortunately, the library is growing faster than the space that they have. They just got more space this summer, and already things are overcrowded. This new space is a new found luxury because now the books that are needed are simply down the hall instwad of a walk across the street. For a library in an art school, things are very sparse-looking, but that is once again due to lack of space.
The best part of the library was their collection of "artist books." These are not books containing pictures of artwork, such as some of the books contained within the actual library, but rather books that are themselves works of art. This was the most interesting part of our tour. The "books" were made of odd materials; one book had been a shoe, and another was embroidered on a piece of fabric, and each contained a different message that the author wanted the viewer to figure out for themselves.
The librarians in the SAIC were very nice. It is definitely interesting to hear all the different types of jobs that one can go through before becoming a librarian at such a specific type of library, which was definitly the case with the library at the SAIC. She was extremely knowledgeable and enjoyed what she was talking about. It is unfortunate that such a prestigious school has such a small library. However due to the location of the school being in the city, a lack of space is more understandable than if the school was ina suburban setting. Students do benefit from the I-Share catalog, which allows them to borrow materials from other school libraries, which is definitely a perk when they have such a small library at their school. However, if a student is looking for a specific art-related book that their library does not have, it may be hard to find through I-Share.
The SAIC's official website
Photos: see below.