Knowledge Base

History of the Fine Arts Library

    The Grant Fine Arts Library serves as the “neighborhood library” for the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts of the University of Oklahoma, supporting their mission to provide “excellence in arts education, scholarship, and creative activities, and the nurture of its students by maintaining a university environment in which the highest professional standards are exemplified through its faculty.” The University remains committed to the arts, President Boren affirming “that no University can be truly great without achieving greatness in the fine arts. We must not…focus solely on the mind and the body, and neglect the spirit. Music and all of the Arts feed the soul. The creative part of us helps us escape the narrow boundaries of our own limited personal experiences.” The library also recognizes its obligation to the local community, the state, other libraries, and scholars in general. 

    Created by the merger of three smaller departmental libraries in 1986, the Fine Arts Library is located in room 020 on the lower level of Catlett Music Center on the corner of Elm and Boyd streets. The Fine Arts Library holds approximately 140,000 books, scores, and bound periodicals. Sound and video recordings are collected by the Media Resource Center, a separate entity, located within the Fine Arts Library, and administered by the College of Fine Arts. 

    The collection has been carefully built to support the needs of the College, which offers bachelors and masters degrees from each School as well as doctorates in music performance or conducting. The Ph.D. is offered in Music Education and in Art of the American West/Native American Art. The Helen Carpenter endowment fund supports the acquisition of important scholarly works such as catalogue raisonnés and the collected works of composers from the Middle Ages to the present. Electronic resources available include: Art Index, Art Index Retrospective, Bibliography of the History of Art, ARTstor, JSTOR, International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance, RILM, RIPM, Dance in Video, Opera in Video, and numerous reference works from Oxford University Press. Special collections include 8,000 pieces of sheet music from the 1890s to the 1960s and a collection of harp music donated by Lawrence Odom, formerly principal harpist at the Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, D.C. 

    The Fine Arts Library circulates over 33,000 items each year and strives to constantly reach a greater number of students, staff, and faculty. Outreach activities include numerous tours and instruction sessions for a wide variety of courses, both within the College of Fine Arts and across the university, a newsletter, and an active presence on Facebook. A Librarian on Location program at the School of Art & Art History continue to expand our services beyond the walls of the library as we continue to evolve to meet the ever changing needs of the college, the university, and the community.