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Rare Book Room Features​

Take a peek into the unique collections of Phoenix Public Library's Rare Book Room.


The Library's Artist Made Book collection contains a variety of works to provide students and the public with a solid foundation to the Book Arts. Artist Made Books come in many forms. Some examples are sculpture, altered books, collage, photography and fine press. In brief, they are books in which the form is as important as the content.

There are works from around the world in the collection. These works are treasured because they were all made here in our home state. Arizona is home to the Herberger Institute School of Art at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona's School of Art and where faculty and students have created amazing work. There are also many local artists and presses who have produced excellent works.

​​Photo of Spirit LandSpirit land

Woodcuts and letterpress on paper handmade from plant fibers, soil and crushed shells give life to the original poetry.

Photo of Floating Through the DesertFloating through the desert

This hand painted and calligraphed book is a reflection of the artist's dream of driving on the Arizona highway.

Photo of Harlequin FacesHarlequin faces

Vibrant faces in this book celebrate carnivals and festivals of the world; The rat-a-tat it makes when shaken adds to the playful feeling.

Photo of Poem of the GiftsPoem of the gifts

An anamorphic image is an unexpected surprise at the end of this miniature, hand bound and printed book.

Photo of Coyote SongsWo'i bwikam = Coyote Songs : from the Yaqui Bow Leaders' Society

English translations of Yaqui poems were hand printed by CHAX Press where poets and artists collaborate to create original works.

​​Photo of Inside Chances, openedPhoto of Inside ChanceInside Chance

This example of tactile book art contains hinged cubes which reveal "myriad lyrical permutations" as they turn and fold.








​​John Risseeuw, professor at Arizona State University, is an exceptionally talented artist who has contributed to our collection as an artist, an artists' instructor and a curator. In 1993, Risseeuw and two other curators were given a budget to build a foundation for the Artist Made Book Collection. Through their collaboration, the library gained 137 works of book art. He is now retiring from professorship and we wish him the best of luck!
​For more information on making an appointment, tours and the collection, please visit the Rare Book Room page.

You might also be interested in:

Rare Book Room Features: Accordions & Carousels
Rare Book Room Features: The Art of George Cruikshank
Rare Book Room Features: Book of Hours

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