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Artists' Books: Home

In this guide...

Learn about the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries Artists' Books Collection, find key reference works on artists books, a list of special journal issues on artists' books and  links to book arts centers, libraries and organizations.

Online Resources

There is a plethora of information openly accessible on the web about artists books, with many images and visual archives cited in this guide.


About the Collection

The Artists' Books Collection is housed in the Arts Library and the Fine and Rare Book Room at Hunt Library and now in its third decade of development, currently containing over 1,000 works. The collection has evolved into a viable tool for teaching, research and exhibitions as a component to the curriculums of The College of Fine Arts, BXA and to others across disciplines on campus, locally, regionally and nationally who are drawn to the diversity of ideas, themes and formats characterized by the collection.

Artists' books are sensorial works which transcend the notion of the book as an ordinary medium. The nature of the genre is to inspire a continual process of re-envisioning the sum of our minds, senses, emotions and the  the endless possibilities that result from that experience. As such, artists’ books are manifest in every imaginable (and unimaginable) form and delve into all aspects of life and the human condition. The Carnegie Mellon collection includes works from the exquisitely crafted original to the cheap copy: book sculptures, flip-books, sound works, "virtual installations", matchbooks, books you can't "open", revealing diaries, activist manuals, interactive postcards, and poetic metamorphoses, to name a few. Most of the works date from 1980 to the present, with some prime examples from the 1960s and 1970s.

We collect artists' books from many sources, including individual international artists and established artist book distributors and publishers as well as works by students, faculty and alumni of Carnegie Mellon.

How to find artists' books at CMU

Search the Library Catalog

  • Search the library catalog: 
  • Choose the Books and More option
  • Enter keyword with quotes "artists books"

This will give you a fairly comprehensive list of artists' books (and books about artists' books) in the collection search the phrase "artists books" (in quotations). You can also combine that search to include the name of an artist or title of a book if you know it. Also, if you know of an artists' book publisher you can search by the organization: such as Art Metropole, Lapp Princess Press, Printed Matter, Visual Studies Workshop, Women's Studio Workshop...

Related topics (among many) associated with artists' books are artistic photography, book design, book binding, computer art, conceptual art, diary or diaries, mail art, copy art, Fluxus, illustrated books, narrative art, notebook or notebooks, postcard or postcards, sketchbook or sketchbooks, toy and movable books, and book jackets.