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63rd IFLA General Conference - Conference Programme and Proceedings - August 31- September 5, 1997

Art in the Art Library: small faces of “Library Products”

Kyoko Tomatsu
Library Point Co.,

(in co-operation with Masaharu Taneichi)


The author of this paper describes ways to create a library environment which will be especially suited to users who are knowledgeable about and affected by art and design. ln.a library which specialises in art, "Library Products" can be used effectively, in a stimulating way, to complement the furnishings and equipment, and to create an ambience which will enhance its customers' enjoyment and the effectiveness of their studies.

"Library Products" for use in the art library are discussed from the point of view of an art librarian, rather than that of an architect or designer. Their role and importance are investigated, and are illustrated by examples of the materials the products are made from, their colour and shape, and the way they are used in art libraries in Japan and other countries, notably in Scandinavia.


1. Introduction

What kind of art library is an attractive library? This depends, of course, on the quality and quantity of its holdings, and also depends on excellent and warm public services. In addition to these fundamental elements, I think there are some other important factors such as architectural design, the standards of the facilities, the design of the interior, the furnishing and equipment, and "Library Products". They help to make the library’s users satisfied as they use the collections and spend time in the library.

The art library has a special atmosphere and should offer an artistic environment. In the library, people have the opportunity to search, study, read and contemplate. Sometimes they dream, fumble, try to get some inspiration. Or people may find their own personal peace of mind and happiness. Afterwards they go back to their daily life with the treasures they have found in the art library.

During the time I have been working for libraries, I have always wondered how I could set up an attractive art library. If we could further enrich the time and space users spend in enjoyment of the world of art, the inspiration they derived from what is in the library would surely become more effective. Users would come back again and again, not only to use the collections but also to re-experience the artistic atmosphere of the library. This would lead in turn to better use of the collections and would heighten the value of the library to its users.

What kind of elements should be considered to be effective components of an attractive art library? In this paper, I focus on "Library Products" in particular as the subject to investigate. What kind of Library Products are there? What is the significance of Library Products for the art library? The role and potential of Library Products in art libraries are described below, with some examples.

2. Components of an attractive art library, and the idea of "Library Products"

When a new library and/or a renovation project is being proposed and discussed in relation to the overall environment, the program probably includes the following elements:

In addition to these, a new element called "Library Products" might be proposed. "Library Products" is sometimes used as a general term to describe library furnishings, library equipment, library supplies and library accessories as a whole. But in this paper, the term, "Library Products" is used in the context of the following definitions:

Library products will be reviewed in the next section with some examples.

3. Art in the Art Library: a classification of Library Products

The following classification of Library Products in the art library is proposed, giving examples which are used in Japan and other countries in many materials, colours and forms.

Other classifications are possible according to material, the allocation of library space, national and regional considerations, etc.

4. Conclusion

As we art librarians approach the 21st century, it is essential that we provide the most attractive and effective art library environment possible. Using Library Products effectively, we may build an attractive art library. The more attention we give to artistic detail in the art library the more exciting and stimulating it will be for both users and staff. This will bring together users and library, and lead to better use of the library’s collections and facilities.


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