Special Collections


The Archives are closed and is services are suspended until at least September 2019.

The OCAD University Archives acquires, preserves, and makes available a broad range of material that documents the school’s history and student life since 1876. We are open to all OCAD U community members as well as researchers from the general public, providing research assistance and support. Please contact us to make an appointment. For contact information and additional holdings information, visit the Archives page.

Artists’ Bookworks

The OCAD University library Artists' Book collection contains over 150 artists' bookworks and is part of the library's Special Collections. Artists' books in the collection range from the late 20th to early 21st-century and include traditional letterpress printed books, conceptual bookworks, sculptural and visual works, and forms such as scrolls, fold-outs, and loose items contained in a box. The artists' book collection serves as a teaching collection in support of OCAD University's Printmaking program. Artists' books are housed in the Dorothy H. Hoover Library and are available upon request by call number from the Circulation/Checkout desk. Bookworks do not circulate outside of the library.

The Diana Myers Award is awarded yearly to an outstanding artist book produced by an OCAD student in the Printmaking program. The Diana Myers Award has been on hiatus since 2013 but will be reinstated for the 2016/17 academic year. Stay tuned for more info coming soon. To see past winners check out the artists' book display in the library.

For more information about the collection visit the OCAD Bookworks library guide.

Illustrated Children’s Books

Comprised of roughly 200 titles, the library's illustrated children's book collection dates back to the early 1900s and spans the contemporary period. The illustrated children's book collection consists largely of donated material and includes classics of children's literature as well as modern renditions, many of which were illustrated and/or written by OCAD University faculty and graduates. The collection provides a unique study in the art of visual storytelling and the evolution of children's book design. Books are available for loan from the library and can be accessed by searching the library catalogue.

Large Format Art History Instructional Images

Due to the fragile condition of the supporting display boards, they cannot be handled, therefore a large selection of these images were digitized and can be accessed by students, staff, and faculty at http://www.ARTstor.org.


The Library collection includes leaves from original Manuscripts in two portfolios, selected as examples of different eras and cultures (call numbers ND2900 F43 R.B.C and ND2920 E44 R.B.C. in the Library Catalogue). These items are available for viewing in the Library upon request by call number at the Circulation/Checkout Desk.

OCAD U Produced Lecture Series

OCAD U departmental visiting lecturer series videos are available on DVD in the Library collection. They can be searched in the Library Catalogue under 'Ontario College of Art & Design' as the publisher and usually have a DVD call number of 10,000 or higher. The lecturers are leading-edge artists, designers, educators, and researchers from across the globe. Some titles do not circulate due to rights restrictions in place as requested by the presenter. These materials are available from the Library Circulation/Checkout Desk upon request by DVD number.

Rare Books

This collection includes books that are rare or difficult to source, special Canadiana titles, private press publications, limited editions, signed editions, and books containing hand-coloured illustrations or exhibiting unique design or content elements. In the library catalogue, these items have a call number that ends with the R.B.C. or RBC designation. These items do not circulate in order to protect their condition, but are available for use in the library upon request at the Circulation/Checkout Desk.

Rare Periodicals

The rare periodicals collection consists of avant-garde magazines, private press publications, rare Canadiana, and unique or limited edition serials. These items do not circulate in order to protect their condition, but are available for use in the library upon request by call number at the Circulation/Checkout Desk.

VAO Artist File Collection

In 1973, a number of local arts organizations united to create Visual Arts Ontario (VAO), representing working artists and art professionals from across the province. VAO Members were encouraged to submit images and information on their works to an artist file collection, which became a vast resource of information on local artists.  This collection, comprised primarily of 35mm slides, was donated to the OCAD U Library some time after the VAO folded into CARFAC in 2011. Access is available at the Visual Resources & Special Collections Offices by appointment. For contact information, visit the Visual Resource page.


The OCAD U Zine Library is an ever-growing collection of self-published and handmade objects located in the Learning Zone at OCAD University. The collection currently contains thousands of items under the headings Art, Comics, Fashion, Info/DIY, Music, OCADU, Perzine, Photography, Poetry, Political, Queer, Sex & Sexuality, and Stories. The Zine Library was created to inspire, educate and entertain, to encourage collaboration between OCAD U students and to open up the world of zines for readers and creators everywhere. The collection can be browsed online in ArtStor where it is available to the general public through the Shared Shelf Commons.

The Learning Zone is a secured space, requiring card swipe access. However, members of the public may simply knock on the door and indicate to the staff that they would like to view the zine collection to gain access.

For more information about zines and the OCAD U Zine Library visit the Zine Library research guide.

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