The Clarence Ward Art Library collections provide broad-based coverage of the history, theory, criticism, and practice of the visual arts to support the teaching, research, and art practices of Oberlin students, faculty, curators, and staff.
The library’s 110,000 volumes and electronic resources cover prehistoric art through contemporary experiments worldwide, with particular strengths in the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, African art, Asian art, Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, 16th- and 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art, 19th- and 20th-century British and American architecture, Expressionism, and modern art created after World War II.
The library offers rich special collections as well. Rare volumes include the Thomas Jefferson Architecture Collection, the Art and Science of Color Collection, and European imprints on architecture, gardening, and landscape design. Modern highlights include collections of "artists' books" and "Mail Art." All special collections are available for viewing by Oberlin students, faculty, curators, and staff with a valid OCID.
Located on the top floor of the iconic Venturi Art Building, the library is named for its founder, Clarence Ward, who served as director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Chair of the Art Department, and Professor of Architectural History from 1917 to 1948.