Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Art Library Collection

Author: Terrie L. Wilson, last updated July 28, 2023

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, Art History, and Design and the research needs of undergraduate, graduate students and faculty in that department, 2) Supporting the programmatic needs of the MSU and Broad 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 undergraduate majors in Art History & Visual Culture, Apparel and Textile Design, Art Education, Studio Art, and Graphic Design, and an MFA in Studio Art. 

B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases

The collection has strong  print and electronic 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, African, and Latin American art, and this trend will continue if the curriculum continues to become more specialized in those areas. An increasing collection emphasis on historically underrepresented artists is increasing the diversity of the collection.  Important collections housed in either the Art Library, Remote Storage, or Murray and Hong Special Collections are exhibition catalogs, artists' books, 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 numerous specialized encyclopedias, handbooks and biographical dictionaries. The current journals collection is adequate and includes both print and online journal holdings. The core strength of the collection is supported by essential holdings in Main and Murray and Hong Special Collections, given the interdisciplinary nature of the history of art.