By Susan Jenkins, Library Associate
Columbus College of Art & Design’s (CCAD) Packard Library has a long history of providing its students with access to quality, art-related books and materials. The college, founded as the Columbus Art School in 1879 as an adjunct to the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts (now the Columbus Museum of Art), moved to its current location in Columbus’ Discovery District in 1914. The early library was run by a part-time staff member and volunteers as part of the museum’s collection of books. In 1930 the school moved into Beaton Hall, the first building built specifically for the school.
Throughout the 1950s, the school’s dean, Joseph V. Canzani, pushed for the creation of an accredited college. The school was renamed Columbus College of Art & Design in 1959. In order to pursue accreditation, the school needed a full-time librarian and a curriculum-based collection.
In 1961, Chilin Yu met with Canzani and discussed the direction the library was headed. When Yu was offered the job, she estimated that a $26,000 budget would be required to develop the library’s core collection. Although the school was initially only able to provide a budget of $1,500, both the college and library grew and the need for more space became evident. The Ohio Board of Regents authorized CCAD to grant a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1969. Canzani was named president of CCAD in 1978 and served until 1995.
In 1981 the college split with the art museum to become an independent entity with its own board of trustees. In 1993, the college built the Joseph V. Canzani Center and the library moved into the garden level of the new building—its current location. Current CCAD President Dennison W. Griffith was named to the post in 1998. In 2000, the Packard Library joined its peer institutions as part of the OPAL and OhioLINK consortiums. Yu continued as head librarian until her retirement in December 2007.
The Packard Library’s second director, Gail Storer, has sustained the library’s growth into the digital age. The library currently houses more than 57,000 books, 275 serials, a separate slide/digital image library, a student computer lab, Wi-Fi access, and a color printing lab. It provides online access to OhioLINK and multiple databases. In addition to an outstanding compilation of art and design-related works, the library also houses a solid liberal arts collection. Students have access to drawing aids such as skulls, hands, and mannequins, and a replica human skeleton is on display for students to sketch.
In addition to serving the college’s undergraduate students, who can major in Advertising & Graphic Design, Animation, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Media Studies and Photography, the library now also serves the college’s new MFA program, which began in fall of 2010. The addition of the MFA program emphasizes that the need for quality art research and reference material continues to be vital. The desire to offer art students inspiration and information is fundamental to the goals of CCAD’s Packard Library.