Art lending through libraries

Art lending through libraries

By Candice Smith


Art To Go is an art lending programme in place at an Iowa City Public Library (ICPL) since 1965. It's a great example of one of the many unconventional ways libraries can enrich the lives of the communities they serve. The collection, which has about 400 items, is available to any patron with an ICPL library card, and two items can be borrowed for two months at a time with no charge.

The Art To Go collection has two primary objectives, related to the Library and the community it serves.

  • To develop visual literacy and expose patrons to different types of art, comparable to a listener using recordings to learn about music; the collection should provide a way for people to learn about, appreciate, and explore art.
  • To support the arts community by purchasing works created by local artists, which serves several purposes: it encourage patrons and Iowa City residents to get to know and appreciate the work of area artists; it helps artists gain exposure to a wider audience; and it helps to preserve works that might not otherwise have that opportunity.
Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2014