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The Collections

The Art Library collects books, journals, exhibition catalogs, magazines, photobooks, and catalogue raisonné in all periods of art history, from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on Renaissance art, modern art, and contemporary art. Our collection is built over time to reflect the research strengths of the School of Art + Art History + Design, as well as the many arts related courses held across UW. The Art Library holds around 60,000 volumes.

Some collection subjects include:

  • Visual Arts
  • Indigenous Art
  • Sculpture
  • Painting
  • Print Media, including printmaking and engraving
  • Printing, including graphic design and typography
  • Photography

We are currently growing our collection in the following areas to better meet faculty research needs:

  • American Art
  • Japanese Art
  • Latin American Art

Arrangement of Materials

  • Books are shelved by call number in the general stacks according to the Library of Congress classification system.
  • Some materials may only be viewed in person and classified as “Library Use Only” due to the monetary value of the item, its material condition, or the inability to replace the item if lost or damaged.
  • Some materials may only be accessed by searching the library catalog and requesting the title for viewing from the Art Library Information Desk.

Other Relevant Collections at UW Libraries

Some overlap in our collections occurs with the Built Environments (BE) Library in our collection of design fields, such as furniture design history and industrial design, as well as in architecture, and the Drama Library in the areas of performance art, and fashion and costume design, for example.

Suzzallo and Allen Libraries hold many more scholarly art books, including those written in a variety of non-English languages. Special Collections, located in Allen, hold rare materials and archives, including our Book Arts & Rare Books Collections.

The Tateuchi East Asia Library houses many volumes on East Asian Art written in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Graphic novels and many more art books aimed at popular and general audiences can be found at the Odegaard Undergraduate Library.



Madison Sullivan
Fine and Performing Arts Librarian

For immediate assistance, please send a message via Ask Us! For general information, call 206-543-0648.