The University of Alabama
Book Arts Collection at The W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library
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The Book Arts Collection is comprised of a wide range of handmade books and fine press titles crafted by contemporary artists and was developed to support The University of Alabama MFA program in Book Arts.  The collection includes both student and professional book artists work, as well as some of the most renowned book artists in the world.

This program and corresponding collection offer a truly unique resource in this age of mass produced books.The MFA in Book Arts is a part of the University’s School of Library and Information Studies.  The program, which began in 1985, features classes in binding, printing, papermaking, and history of the book, connecting these areas as often as possible.  Students and faculty participate in a variety of festivals and workshops and on multiple occasions have collaborated with Cuban artists to produce unique multicultural works.

The Hoole Library's extensive Book Arts Collection features contemporary bookbindings and unique artist books along with books from the world’s fine presses and printers, as well as broadsides, and "the archive of decorated papers", an impressive collection of decorated papers which allow users to better understand techniques and methods for creating such works. These materials are used on a regular basis by students in the MFA program in book arts, as well as students in Art, Graphic Design, Library and Information Studies, and in other areas.

As part of the Book Arts Collection, The Hoole Library subscribes to the preeminent journals in this subject area, namely Hand Papermaking and Matrix.  Matrix is a journal for printers and bibliophiles published by The Whittington Press in small numbers in order to maintain superior quality of the finished product. 

Multiple exhibits have taken place at Hoole Library over the years to feature handmade books and papers, including many student thesis projects in conjunction with the MFA program.  Those interested in viewing materials from the Book Arts Collection are encouraged and welcome to do so!



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