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Hidden Gem: The Digital Initiatives and Art Image Library

By Pete Barell
Arts and Entertainment Editor

Dr. Catherine R. Larkin, an associate professor, is the head of the Digital Arts and Image Library that is tucked away in the basement of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library on campus. The library is a resource for students and faculty members to find rare and valuable information that may be unavailable elsewhere.

Larkin, who has worked at LIU Post for 22 years, oversees the extensive collection of more than 100,000 images of art media, ranging from prehistoric times to the present day. The collection is valued as a place for art research, open to all students who are fulfilling course requirements.

“We explore, develop, and implement projects that convert [LIU Posts’] signature collections and academic resources into digital collections with permanent research value,” Larkin said. “Our most recent project was a partnership with Frick Art Reference Library called Gilding the Gilded Age: Interior Decoration Tastes and Trends in New York City.” Materials from New York City’s Frick Art Reference Library and Archive, as well as The William Randolph Hearst Archive at LIU Post, comprise this new collection. For more information on this particular project, regarding collection and exhibitions, visit gildedage3.

Hearst is known for his publishing dynasty, but Larkin noted his obsessive art collecting. “Inquiries come to us from all over Europe and the U.S. from scholars investigating works of art he once owned,” she said. “This has generated numerous academic publications that give recognition to the archive and LIU Post.”

Archival materials at the Art Image Library consist of: digitized versions of sales record; photographs; artworks, including a PreColumbian collection in collaboration with the Hillwood Art Museum and paper-based materials like Civil War newspapers; maps; atlases; illustrated song sheets; and more from the Cedar Swamp Historical society.

“We are also a service department,” Larkin added. “We offer research assistance to individual art faculty members and their students, as well as art information literacy classes for groups.”

The Art Image Library assists with presentation technology, and has developed a library guide to help find prints and electronic resources. The guide is found at The Arts Image Library is a hidden resource for researching museum work and art collection, particularly from a historical perspective. According to Larkin, students are always welcome to use the facilities for research on thesis paper topics; and, the service is free.

“Librarians love to share their knowledge and help students,” she said. “Moreover, the space is open and comfortable and conducive to learning. In the library, you can get the academic support you need, do independent research, study, socialize, and grab a quick bite to eat at our Bookmark Café.”

The Digital Initiatives and Arts Image Library, room 109, is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact or call 516-299-2928.

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