Art Library Collection

I. Collection Description


The Ricker Library of Architecture and Art supports the teaching and research of the faculty and students in the School of Art and Design which offers the following degrees:

  1. Bachelor of Fine Arts (with majors in: Art Education, Art History, Ceramics, Glass, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Metals, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture).
  2. Master of Arts in Art Education or the History of Art
  3. Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics, Glass, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Metals, Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture
  4. Doctor of Education in Art Education, and the Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Art.

History of Collection:

Library materials for the School of Art & Design have been the responsibility of Ricker Library since 1928 when the Architecture and Kindred Subjects building was completed. At that time, and until 1960 when the new building for Art & Design was built, classes for the two schools were held in one place with studio space assigned to painters as well as architects. Sharing the library was a natural development of being housed in the same building. In 1931 the College of Fine & Applied Arts was created by the Board of Trustees and the informal arrangement became a collegial one.

Estimate of Holdings:

Ricker Library and the Main Library Bookstacks contain approximately 120,000 volumes in the Dewey classes of 700-709 and 730-779.

State, Regional and National Importance:

One of the best collections in the United States serving as a state and regional resource. Particularly strong in complete runs of 19th century art history journals and materials in Byzantine and Early Christian, Renaissance, Baroque, Nineteenth, Twentieth Century, African, and Asian Art. In addition, the Library subscribes to an ever-expanding number of digital products including journals and image repositories.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Ricker Library of Architecture & Art.

Location of Materials:

  1. Ricker Library holds the most current monographs, items in high demand, catalogue raisonnés, and those needed for course reserves. Due to space limitations, Ricker only contains the last five years of journals currently received.
  2. Main Library Stacks contains the bulk of the historical collection including rare and complete runs of 19th century journals, the remainder of the book collection. Oak Street contains materials infrequently consulted.

Related Collections

The City Planning and Landscape Architecture Library, the Classics Collection, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Undergraduate Library as well as other humanities libraries hold titles that are of interest to our users.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Connally, Ernest Allen. Printed Books on Architecture. 1485-1805: A Brief History and a Catalog of the Exhibition. Urbana Adah Patton Memorial Fund, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, and the Department of Architecture, 1960.

Curtis, Nathaniel Cortland. The Ricker Librarv of Architecture, University of Illinois, Urbana, 1920. (University of Illinois Bulletin, v. XVII, No. 29)

Davis, Fern DeBeck. "Ricker Library of Architecture," Specia1 Libraries 29:4 (April 1938): 106-08.

Downs, pp. 17, 19, 107, 317, 381.

Kruty, Paul. "Nathan Clifford Ricker: Establishing Architecture at the University of Illinois," in No Boundaries: University of Illinois Vignettes. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004, pp. 3-14.

Major, pp. 26, 83, 147.

Quinn, Christopher, "Nathan Clifford Ricker: translator and educator." in Arris 11 (2000): 40-54.

Ridinger, Miriam. History of the Ricker Library of Architecture. 1873-1951. 1952 (Unpubl.)

II. General Collection Guidelines


We collect English and major Western European languages extensively. Slavic languages collected by the Slavic Library; Asian by the Asian Library.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restrictions. Current materials are emphasized.

Geographical Guidelines:

We collect North American imprints and important Western European publications extensively.

Treatment of Subject:

The treatment ranges from the highly scholarly and technical to introductory and popular works suitable for undergraduate instruction. The subject matter of the collections involves the history, practice, and teaching of art.

The Library collects as comprehensively as the available resources permit. Some of the factors that could adversely affect acquisitions are: devaluation of the dollar abroad, budget restrictions, the addition of new faculty and/or new academic programs without compensatory library support, and the availability of titles.

Titles are acquired that support the curricular and/or research needs of faculty and students. Although some preference is given to English-language materials, scholarly texts are acquired in French, German, Italian, Spanish. Texts in other languages are acquired when the scholarship is compelling, the author is reputed, the publisher well established and there is a dearth of material in English.

Types of Materials:

We collect scholarly monographs, exhibition catalogs, catalogue raisonnés, museum catalogs, periodicals, reference tools, image repositories, annuals and scholarly series extensively in print and digital formats. Microforms, dissertations, CD-ROM reprints, are acquired very selectively. We do not collect newspapers, manuscripts, juvenile materials, maps, posters, slides, or prints.

Date of Publication:

Current materials are emphasized, but retrospective works are acquired on a selective basis. New and revised editions or important works are purchased when new explanatory or primary material is introduced.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments

Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

Art Library Collection
Art education 3 Art Education
Ceramics / glassworking / metalworking 2 Art  
Graphic design 3 Art Communications
History of art and aesthetics 4 Art Philosophy / Classics
Industrial design 2 Art  
Museology 3 Art  
Painting 3 Art  
Photography 3 Art Cinema Studies
Printmaking 3 Art  
Sculpture 3 Art  


Revised Jan 2007