Over the summer Tutt Library received one of the best gifts any library could ask for: thousands and thousands of donated books.
In an effort to clear space for their renovations, the Fine Arts Center of Colorado Springs, located only a few minutes from Colorado College on 30 West Dale St., donated their collection of art books to Tutt Library.
There was not enough space for the full collection, but CC plans to keep approximately 13,000 books. This is about three times as many books as Tutt would normally buy in a year.
Before the Fine Arts Center began their renovations seven years ago, they had provided Colorado College with access to all their books and files via the Tiger Library Catalogs. Since then, the Fine Arts Center has stored this collection, thus restricting the college’s access to them.
“It made all the sense in the world to give the collection to Colorado College’s Tutt Library,” said the Fine Arts Center’s Chief Curator Blake Milteer.
Colorado College’s humanities librarian, Steve Lawson, has been greatly involved with coordinating the donation.
“It’s a great collection that they had, especially in American art, Southwest art, Indian art,” Lawson said. “We want to take this asset and make it useful for people.”
According to both Milteer and Lawson, the Fine Arts Center was very willing to donate their collection to the college.
“What we wanted really was to make that collection a resource again, and there are some amazing books in there,” said Milteer. “Essentially, we were taking care of that collection by getting the books out there and available.”
“My feeling from the Fine Arts Center folks is they always wanted to find some solution to make the library available again,” Lawson said. “They just realized it was something they weren’t going to be able to handle.”
Moving the books over to Tutt is a big process that isn’t yet finished. Lawson expects to receive the full collection within the next six months.
“It’s really been affecting the whole library,” Lawson says. “Even though the books aren’t all coming in at once, they’ve been coming in big loads.”
Lawson is now faced with the task of going through the books and deciding which ones CC should keep and which to pass on to University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He judges the books based on what will be most useful to students, especially students in history classes, focusing on the length of the book, the material, the quality, and how recently it was published.
About 8,583 titles from the collection will be moved into the Art Reading Room; the rest will be spread out among the books that Tutt already has on its shelves.
Despite this gift the Fine Arts Center hasn’t severed all ties with their collection just yet.
“They’ll still be open to our members, the Fine Arts staff and docents,” Milteer said. “Just because the books have changed location doesn’t mean that the members of the Fine Arts Center will never see them again.”