The Frances Loeb Library is a preeminent global design resource that provides the Graduate School of Design and the larger Harvard University with a robust platform for design research, teaching, and learning. It is the GSD’s primary portal for information access, knowledge building, archival storage, retrieval, and acquisition. The Library supports and enhances the educational programs, curriculum development, and research programs of the GSD.
Its general collection holds more than 293,000 volumes, including one-of-a-kind printed and visual materials, with special strengths in twentieth and twenty-first century architecture, city and regional planning, urban design, and landscape design. Library accessions reflect the scholarly interests and design culture of the School and include rare books and archival material, visual content, print and digital collections, materials samples collection, statistical and GIS data. The Library curates and disseminates knowledge for consumption and production. As a knowledge laboratory, the Library pursues innovation, new technologies, and relevant cultural advancements. The Library‘s importance and ubiquity necessarily increases as information expands, almost infinitely. Roughly 35,500 students, faculty, and visitors enter the space each year.
Since its opening in Gund Hall more than 40 years ago, the Library’s uses and spatial configurations have evolved to match the changing needs and desires of the GSD’s academic mission and programs. As the traditional boundaries around classroom and studio spaces become increasingly permeable, the Library fills a more crucial role as a place of overlapping, collaborative learning.
Library staff collaborate with staff across the GSD, including Exhibitions, to curate library displays and to amplify some of the School’s larger exhibitions. This reinforces visual relationships and content affinities with the GSD’s entire expository platform. This extends to sales of scholarly output and relevant print publications.
Library staff participate with faculty and students in conducting interdisciplinary research, building targeted collections, and shaping design pedagogy in a variety of learning environments, including Ed-X and other emerging on-line venues.
Explore Our Collections
The Frances Loeb Library holds over 270,000 volumes, and maintains subscriptions to about 900 periodicals. Comprehensive coverage is provided for all levels of technology and research in the design fields. The library is particularly strong in its coverage of twentieth-century architecture, city and regional planning, American domestic architecture and nineteenth-century U.S. park and cemetery design.
Special Collections on the library’s lower level holds research and primary resource materials. Concentrated in this modest physical area are thousands of rare books and scores of drawings, plans, manuscripts, and photographs.
The Visual Collections contain non-print materials for the Frances Loeb Library that support the curricula of the Graduate School of Design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning and design.
The GSD Materials Collection is a collection of over 600 materials ranging from innovative, new materials to those found everyday in the constructed environment.