Fleet Library

Dean of Libraries: Margot McIlwain Nishimura

Founded in 1878, the Fleet Library at RISD is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. Its more than 165,000 volumes and 300 periodical subscriptions (print) offer unusual depth and richness in the areas of architecture, art, design, and photography. The collection provides strong historical and contemporary perspectives, and materials in landscape architecture, design, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry support upper-level research. The library is also noted for its artist’s book collection, its rare books, and outstanding visual and material resources collections.

In the summer of 2006 the library moved from College Building into a new facility in the first two floors of the former Rhode Island Hospital Trust bank at 15 Westminster Street directly across the river from the RISD Auditorium. The magnificent banking hall serves as the library’s main reading room, while the second floor accommodates a new reading room for Archives and Special Collections as well as expanded space for the Materials and Picture Collections.

Art Historian Margot Nishimura stepped into the role of Interim Dean of Libraries in the summer of 2018 and was appointed permanent dean in September 2019. The Dean of Libraries provides leadership for exceptional, extra-departmental academic resources within the Libraries umbrella, including the Fleet Library, Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab, Center for Arts & Language and Campus Exhibitions.

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Browse the Fleet Library Collections:

Annual Reports

Critical Librarianship

Manning Rare Woods

Materials Education and Research in Art and Design: A New Role for Libraries

Stuff We Make | 30th Annual Library Staff Art Exhibition

UNBOUND: art book fair Archive