Offering the Treasures of Margaret Bridwell Art Library to Undergraduates

As of Fall semester 2015, students who wish to pore over, sketch from, gawk at, or otherwise enjoy large, beautiful art books from the Bridwell Art Library may now do so – in the comfort of their own home. A long-standing policy forbidding undergraduates from checking out art books has been reversed, and now Bridwell will empower undergrads to take these books outside the Library.

“This is a historic decision that gives students the ability to borrow amazing books for use in their academic research, for artistic inspiration, and personal enjoyment,” said Art Library Director Sarah Carter. “The amount of books at UofL about art, design, and architecture – over 90,000 in total – is incredible!”11882373_1190174971008589_7181281518475891471_o

The new privileges allow undergraduates to gain a depth of understanding of artists, trends, and historical movements important to their studies. Faculty hoping to inspire and encourage students will be pleased with this policy shift.

Carter wished to initiate the policy change since first joining the Library in 2014. While the Art Library has been non-circulating since 1963 due to concerns about the expense of replacing lost books, research methods have evolved since then.

“This policy has worked well for the past 52 years, but students’ expectations have changed significantly,” she said. “We know that a large percentage of our students lead busy lives, with demanding schedules of athletics, full- or part-time work, and family responsibilities.

“By loaning books out to undergraduates, we are making it possible for them to do higher-quality research and achieve their educational goals.”

To inaugurate the change in policy, the Art Library will host an event on Wednesday, September 2, from 12 to 2:30 p.m., titled, “X Marks the Arrrt,” (an homage to Talk Like a Pirate day on Sept. 19). Students will be invited to eat cake, play Pin the Eyepatch on the Pirate, and take a look at all the treasure now unburied.

Librarians will only request that these books, sometimes older and fragile, always beautiful, receive the proper care and respect they deserve.

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