The foundation for the Library's architecture and art collections was laid by the country's first college graduate of architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Nathan Clifford Ricker (1843-1924), who in 1873 purchased several important architectural treatises and folios. As his personal collection outgrew his office space, first a room, and then an entire wing of the Architecture Building were assigned to house the collection. By that time, his collection included not only the folios, but also a photographic collection and several rare first editions. In recognition of this founding role, the University's Board of Trustees in 1917 authorized the Library to name the unit in Professor Ricker's honor.
Today, the collections of the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art include more than 120,000 volumes and 33,000 serials (some housed in the Library's main book stacks) 35,000 microforms, and a small but burgeoning collection of videos and CD-ROMs. The Ricker Library also provides access to several important electronic databases. The holdings cover the fields of architecture, architectural history, art, art history, museum studies, and art education. Related collections exist in the City Planning and Landscape Architecture Library, the Communications Library, and the Rare Books and Manuscript Library.
In 1988, the Ricker Library began to create a collection of books about residential architecture, thanks to a gift from architecture alumnus John G. Replinger in memory of architecture alumnus Albert O. Bumgardner. With the passing of John G. Replinger a memorial fund has been established in his memory.
Ricker Library currently has six endowed funds: the Albert H. Nemoede, the Frederick W. Salogga (FAIA funds), the Profesor Harold A. Schultz (in honor of his dear friend and colleague, Profesor Allen S. Weller), the Etta Mae Arntzen, the Helen M. Reynolds, and the Anthony Petullo funds. These monies are used to buy items in new or burgeoning areas of instruction and research that the Ricker Library cannot, presently, purchase from state funds. Each item purchased from an endowment fund is designated by a bookplate. See below for examples of current bookplates.
If you are interested in making a donation to Ricker Library, please contact Jane Block, Architecture and Art Librarian, by phone at (217) 333-0224, fax at (217) 244-5169, or email email@example.com .