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Department of Art & Art History

Rollins Book Arts Collection

Cairo, Egypt. Laser-cut Fabriano and tracing paper, plexiglass mirror, laser-engraved wooden boards. Edition of 30.

Islam Aly, "Inception," 2019

Cairo, Egypt. Laser-cut Fabriano and tracing paper, plexiglass mirror, laser-engraved wooden boards. Edition of 30.

As Rollins students begin their journey towards becoming global citizens, they are thirsty for opportunities to understand the world around them and discover their roles as critical actors and stakeholders in it. The Rollins Book Arts Collection supports this mission by facilitating intimate and interactive engagement with artists books, unique art objects that offer a wide array of perspectives through a tactile, intimate experience.

Book artists create artists books; as an artistic medium and as a discipline of study, book art produces “publications … conceived as artworks in their own right… .” Interacting with and “… understanding a book as an artwork invites a reflection on the properties of the book form itself. The artists book invites us to hold it and turn through its pages. Whether the contents are visually or linguistically based (often a mix of both), physically moving through an artwork implicates notions of sequence, repetition, juxtaposition, and duration. The simplicity of a book that is small in scale, costs relatively little to produce, and is easily replicable allows the work to flow outside of mainstream channels and reach an audience without institutional or commercial consent.” (   

Many book artists explore current social and political issues through their work. The Rollins Book Art Collection is an interdisciplinary teaching collection, directly supporting the College’s curriculum and our long tradition of liberal education. The purpose of the collection is to use art as a medium through which students can better understand multifaceted issues surrounding global politics, economies, and cultures; tensions around social structures and marginalized populations; conflicts between human development and the environment; explorations of art as a concept, expression, and communication tool; and other contemporary issues that students will encounter in their courses and in their lives beyond Rollins.

Finally, the Rollins Book Art Collection is supported by a close collaboration between three entities on campus—The Department of Art & Art History, the Rollins Museum of Art and the Olin Library—guided by an advisory board that includes students, staff and faculty from across our campus community. Curators of the collection take into consideration the identities and backgrounds of the artists, the subject matter of their works, as well the conceptual frameworks and techniques used to create them when building this unique teaching collection of creative works. Our goal is to collect books that can be used in a broad spectrum of academic disciplines at Rollins.

The Rollins Book Arts Collection can be accessed in The Olin Library Archives on the Rollins College campus and through the Olin Archives database through this link:

The collection is also often on display in exhibitions on campus.  In 2021, “Common Ground: Selected Works from the Rollins Book Arts Collection,” curated by Dr. Deborah Prosser, former Director of Olin Library, and Rachel Simmons, Professor of Art, was exhibited at the Rollins Museum of Art and Olin Library from September 18 - December 31, 2021.

For more information on the collection, please contact Professor Simmons at