Libraries and Art

Art on the walls is a simple, beautiful way to bring style to your libraries. It can make space intimate, inviting and rememberable. Most library systems have an art collection but how deliberate are we in choosing what we display? How deliberate are we in engaging the art community and being part of the art world? Here are a few ideas that could help you bring beauty and style to your library while connecting to artists, art organizations and art supporters.

Artists-in-residence programs invite artists and curators into your library and provide them space to create art, do research and more. Artist-in-residence teach classes to customers, create custom works for your library, complete research and could help you pick and display works that support your vision, mission and brand.


  • Professional artists teaching your customers fun and new art skills
  • Access to artist/curator expertise
  • Connecting you library to new organizations and audiences
  • Possible commissions of work specific to your library space
  • New energy

Displaying your collection:
Many of our libraries hold collections of photos and other materials that, if displayed, could be visually appealing and fascinating for viewers to see.   A curator or artists with background in curating is needed to get the effects you want. If you have the budget to bring a curator on board, that would be a sound investment. If not, connecting with galleries or universities may be a way to get professional support at a lower cost.


  • Customers get to see and enjoy the library collection (beautifully displayed) which could lead to more inquiries and use

Collaboration with museums and galleries:
Libraries are no strangers to collaborating with museums, but how about a partnership where works from the museums or  galleries are on loan to your library, giving more community members access to art. A program like this can increase awareness for libraries, galleries and museums alike. It can expand your audience and create a visual impact in your libraries that could not have been possible without partnerships of this kind.

Here are a few links on the subject of libraries and art.