George Washington University Library

About the Collection

George Washington University Library has a collection of artists’ books and resources about book art that will be useful to art and design students and anyone interested in the genre. The collection now includes artists’ books and reference works about book art from the Corcoran Library as well as GW. The collection features artists’ multiples, limited editions, and international publications. Artists’ books from the Corcoran focus on the theme of social consciousness. The artists’ books in the collection display a variety of techniques and media to serve as examples and inspiration for students.

Finding Artists’ Books

The library catalog searches the holdings of the entire Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC). Universities in the WRLC consist of American, Catholic, District of Columbia, Gallaudet, Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, Howard, and Marymount. You can either search the collections of all these libraries at once or refine your results by a specific library. To find artists’ books at GW, go to the advanced search page. Scroll down to “subject.” In the lower, “exact phrase,” search box, type “artists’ books” without quotation marks. On the right side of the results page, find the menu that reads “refine results.” Click “George Washington University.” The resulting page displays all the artists’ books and reference books about book art in Gelman library. If you want to find only artists’ books or only books about book art, you can continue to refine your search. After you have selected George Washington University as the institution, you can refine by library. Generally, clicking “GW: Gelman Special Collections” shows artists’ books from the GW and Corcoran collections. Clicking “GW: Gelman Art and Design” shows reference books about book art.

How to Get There

2130 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20052

Artists’ books at GW are located in Gelman Library. Take the Blue or Orange line to Foggy Bottom. From the station, turn right and walk one block. At H Street, turn left. The library will be on your right in about a block.

What to Expect

Gelman Library mainly serves students, faculty, staff and alumni of the university. If you’re a student, swipe your ID card to get in. Otherwise, refer to the library’s entrance policies page to see if you can do research there. Artists’ books and books about book art can be found in a few different parts of the library, so make sure to check the location of each book you want to view. Artists’ books can be accessed in the Special Collections Research Center, on the 7th floor of the library. The Special Collections Research Center is open to any researcher. During the week, you may make an appointment before stopping in by emailing  or calling 202-994-7549. You can also do research on Saturdays, but you must make an appointment beforehand. You will need to register, so be sure to bring an ID. The Gelman Art and Design collection, on the first floor of the library, has books from the Corcoran library, including reference works about book art. These books circulate.

Other Resources

Artists’ Books at GW

Art & Design Collection from the Corcoran

GW Library Website

GW Special Collections

GW Special Collections Use Policy