Subject Guides: Book Arts


This quick guide provides you with information on the collections, services and facilities that are useful for your subject area, all helpfully gathered together in one place.

Get To Know Your Librarian

Your academic liaison librarian is here to support you during your studies, and can help you source, access and use the resources you need, both in GSA Library and elsewhere

Duncan Chappell
Office Hours: 10.00-18.00 Mon-Fri
Telephone: +44(0) 141 353 4708
Duncan on RADAR
Contact Your Librarian or Book an Appointment

Before You Start

Watch our short orientation videos for quick bitesize guidance on how to access and use our collections and facilities.

Discover the Library

Use Discover to search across our print collection of 60,000 books and journals, as well as the 1000s of online resources we subscribe to on your behalf, all from a single search box. Your results will provide details of a resource’s physical or virtual location and its availability. Read our Borrowing Materials page to find out more about how to borrow from us and your entitlements.

Browse Our Shelves

There may be times when you simply want to browse the library’s shelves for books on particular topics – the useful shelfmarks below will help you.

  • 001.4 Research methodologies and study skills
  • 702.8111 Artists’ publications
  • 702.812 Collage
  • 736.98 Paper-folding and origami
  • 741.092 Graphic artists A-Z
  • 741.62 Typography
  • 741.64 Book design
  • 741.641 Bookbinding
  • 745.54 Papermaking and papier-mâché
  • 745.61 Calligraphy
  • 761 Wood engraving and relief printing
  • 763 Lithography
  • 764.8 Serigraphy and silk-screen
  • 765 Intaglio and etching
  • 766 Mezzotints and aquatints
  • 769 Collagraphs and mixed media
  • 769.092 Printmakers A-Z
  • 769.52 Bookplates
  • 773 Photogravure
  • 801.95 Literary theory

Search Databases

To complement our print collections, we subscribe to hundreds of online resources, from e-books to e-journals, and from image databases to film. These resources are great for essays or dissertations, and can be accessed even when the library is closed. To find out how to access our electronic resources off-campus, see our Databases A-Z page.

Databases with most relevance to your subject include:

Browse Journals and Magazines

Journals and magazines are a great way of keeping up-to-date with contemporary practice in your field, because it can take a while for cutting-edge practice to be written up in books.

All our print journals are arranged on our shelves alphabetically by title, with the latest issues found in the reading area on Level 1 of the library. In many cases we also stock back-runs, and these can be found on rolling shelves towards the back of Level 0.

Please note that, unlike our books, journals are reference-only and cannot be borrowed, though individual articles can be photocopied subject to copyright limits.

Alongside our print journals, we also subscribe to 1000s of electronic journals. Journals and magazines with most relevance to your subject include:

Discover Artists’ Books and Zines

GSA Library holds a superb and comprehensive collection of over 1000 artists’ books, featuring examples by internationally important artists such as Doug Aitken, Angela Bulloch, Olafur Eliasson, David Shrigley, Peter Greenaway, Mike Nelson, and Thomas A. Clark. A number of small presses also feature in the collection. If you are producing your own artists’ books and would like to see them enter our collection, contact your librarian.

Our Zine Library can be found next to the current journals on Level 1 of the Library. As well as  DIY publications by artists, the zine collection also contains small-press publications about architecture, design, society, and politics. You can find our more about the zines we hold on our dedicated Tumblr. You can also submit your own zines anonymously to the collection via our three postboxes, situated respectively by our main Service Desk, next to the Zine Library itself, and in the Vic bar.

Discover the Alasdair Gray Collection

Alasdair Gray (1934-) is one of Scotland’s foremost writers and artists. His first novel, Lanark, was published in 1981 and was the culmination of over 30 years work. It is has been described by The Guardian as a landmark of 20th-century fiction. GSA Library holds a number of first editions, uncorrected proofs, and foreign editions of Gray’s novels, plays and poems, along with publications from his own Dog & Bone Press. All were donated by Gray himself in February 2015.

Discover the Book Arts Collection

GSA Library holds a large collection of titles representing the book arts in their widest sense, from illustration to cover design. The collection extends from the early nineteenth century right up to contemporary times, and documents how approaches to the book arts have changed during this period.

Discover the Text/Image Collection

The Text/Image Collection comprises small-press artists’ books that draw principally upon the traditions of minimalism, conceptualism and concrete poetry. The works of artists Ian Hamilton Finlay and Thomas A. Clark feature prominently.

Digital Volumes

We have digitised a number of volumes from our special collections, across the subject areas of fine art, architecture, costume, anatomy, and design. These can be freely viewed on the Internet Archive and downloaded in a number of formats. They have been made available for private research and study under a Creative Commons Attribution–NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence.

You can browse all our digital volumes at the Internet Archive.

Binding and Printing Services

GSA Library offers a binding service for small publications that require a basic finish. For more professional finishes, DAD Bookbinders provide a bespoke service for one-off publications as well as a small-run publication service.

GSA Technical Services offers a suite of production workshops and services. In particular, the Case Room provides a Heidelberg and Colombian press, binding tools, and historical type, though access may be restricted to students of Communication Design.

Glasgow’s Publication Studio, based at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, is part of an international network of studios that print and bind limited edition books. Risotto, also based in Glasgow, offers a risographic printing and design service.

Distribution Services

Based in Glasgow, My Bookcase initiates and supports creative projects that take the physical book as a source for both research and practice. It runs practical workshops, exhibitions, commissions, installations, talks, interviews, symposia and roundtables. My Bookcase works both locally and internationally with a wide variety of organisations and individuals, including libraries, bookshops, art galleries, community centres, and creative space sas well as with writers, publishers, designers, artists, readers and researchers. It’s online platform allows you to catalogue your bookshelves, browse other collections, and connect with fellow readers in your community.

Good Press Gallery operates a distribution service for independent artist-led publications.

Other Useful Resources

Depending on your interests or the projects or electives you undertake, the following resources may also prove useful to you during your studies.

Can’t Find What You Are Looking For?

There will be times when you require resources that even the most specialist of libraries cannot supply. But don’t worry, as there as several ways in which you can access the resources you need.