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With a circulating collection of more than 150,000 books, RISD’s library—a beautifully designed space housed in a former grand banking hall—offers a wide range of resources in art, design, architecture and more, along with a Materials Resource Center, a strong collection of artist’s books and other specialized resources of interest to artists and designers.

Inspiring collections for art + design research

Founded in 1878, the RISD library is one of the country's oldest independent art college libraries. Its circulating collection of more than 150,000 volumes offers unusual depth and richness in the areas of art, architecture, design and photography.

The collection provides strong historical and contemporary perspectives and specialized materials in landscape architecture, ceramics, textiles and jewelry to support upper-level research. RISD’s specialized library is also noted for its artist’s books collection, rare books, some 400 periodical subscriptions and collection of outstanding visual resources.

Fall 2020 information

This semester in-person access to the Main Floor Library, Special Collections, Archives or the Visual + Material Resource Center is available by appointment only to RISD community members with an active RISD ID. Please note that users must make separate appointments to visit each library area/collection.

Daily appointment slots, seating capacity and hours are all limited and vary by area of the library. See our COVID remote operations to make an appointment, view collection hours or learn about other virtual services.