Library History at FSU, Part 9: John and Mable Ringling Art Library

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Governance of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art was given to FSU in 2000. The University oversaw the restoration and renovation of all four buildings on the complex: the Ca d’Zan, the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, and the Historic Asolo Theater.

The Art Library was established with The Ringling’s reopening under control of the state of Florida in 1946. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive art research libraries in the southeastern United States.

The John and Mable Ringling Reading Room at The Ringling Art Library

When the library opened in 1946, it was located in what had been the office of The Ringling’s first director. As the collection continued to expand, the library was moved to a space on the third floor of the 1960s addition to the South Galleries of the Art Museum. Finally, in 2007, the library found a home in the Johnson-Blalock Education Center.

Located on the south side of the Ringling Campus, the Art Library is a non-circulating research library which holds over 70,000 items. Included are the personal books and papers of John and Mable Ringling, over 100 journal and magazine subscriptions, and specialized art databases.

The Ringling Archives were established in 1987 in response to difficulty locating historical records and materials relating to the museum. The Archives collections include archival materials documenting the influence and impact of John Mable Ringling on Sarasota, the founding and development of the Museum, and the history of circus arts.

Published by Kacee Reguera

Heritage & University Archives Assistant Florida State University

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