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Art Building West, one of several University buildings that were damaged in the 2008 flood, has reopened its doors this semester, and Brad Ferrier was a part of that process. Ferrier is a current SLIS student who began work for the Art Library at the beginning of this year. He heard about the opportunity to help re-establish the art library from Rijn Templeton, Head of the Art Library. Ferrier interviewed Templeton as an assignment for Cultural Foundations last fall, so he felt comfortable talking to her again when he was exploring ways to combine his BA in fine arts with his LIS studies. Templeton hired him to work with her at the Art Library, and it has proven to be a good fit.
The Art Library books were moved back into the building over the winter break by a professional library moving company, and Ferrier and other student workers helped to shelf read and rearrange the books after they were delivered. "The books were pretty much in order, we just had to tweak it a little, to make it more user friendly. If we had journal titles with lots of volumes we'd try to get them all on one side of an aisle instead of some here, some there." There were also a lot of books that were shelved upside down or whole sections of books that somehow ended up on the wrong shelves together. "The library's been moved twice—moved out and then moved back in. It's not something that lot of librarians experience: having to move a library twice." Ferrier feels that his the background in library theory from SLIS classes helped to make things fall into place more smoothly.
Ferrier's dream job is to work with a collection of artist booksin an museum library or in special collections at an academic library. He recently applied for the University of Iowa Center for the Book certificate program so that he can learn more about the art of bookmaking.
The interior of Art Library is a beautiful work environment, with natural lighting provided by large wall of west windows and inset ceiling windows. There are several seating areas, reading rooms, and graduate student carrels available. The collection includes art journals as well as a number of artist books and rare books. Ferrier thoroughly enjoys spending 20 hours a week there. "I would work more if I could," he adds.
Regardless of whether you are an art aficionado or just enjoy a quite, scenic work space, you should take a stroll down to Art Building West and experience its beauty for yourselves. You can find out more about the design of the building through this video tour with the architect Steven Holl and find out more about what happens inside the building at http://www.art.uiowa.edu.