Purpose or Scope of Collection
A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs
The Art Library collection serves several purposes by 1) Supporting the curricular needs of the Department of Art and the research needs of undergraduate, graduate students and faculty in that department, 2) Supporting the programmatic needs of the MSU and Kresge Art Museums, 3) Supporting the curricular and research needs of such departments and programs such as IAH, Interior Design, Theater and other disciplines and 4) Supporting the reference needs of the community at large as a land-grant institution. Curriculum, research and programs are expanding beyond the confines of traditional, western-oriented history of art, which is an extremely important factor to consider.
MSU currently offers a BA in Art History, an MFA in Studio Art, an MA in Art History and a degree in Art Education. If a PhD program in the history of art is approved, there will be a substantial impact on the Art Library, although the program would be interdisciplinary in nature.
B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases
The collection has strong holdings in the history of the western visual arts, photography, and architecture. The collections contain both English and foreign language works, including some Asian vernacular material. In recent years the collection has been strengthened in the areas of Asian and African art, and this trend will continue if the curriculum continues to become more specialized in those areas. Important collections housed in either the Art Library or Special Collections are exhibition catalogs, illuminated manuscript facsimiles, catalogues raisonnés of major artists, French salon catalogues, journals with original art work such as XXe Siecle and Derrière le Miroir, books on color and ornamental ironwork, and a substantial collection on Russian art. A strong reference collection includes major library catalogs, exhibition and sale indexes, and numerous specialized encyclopedias, handbooks and biographical dictionaries. The current journals collection is adequate but somewhat small for a library of this size. The core strength of the collection is supported by essential holdings in Main and Special Collections, given the interdisciplinary nature of the history of art.