The Book Arts Collection includes both historical and modern pieces encompassing all aspects of the physical book: typography, papermaking, letterpress and offset printing, illustration, book design, paper decoration, calligraphy, sculptural and conceptual work and artist's books. There is a separate subset of the Collection dedicated to the history of bookbinding with a special emphasis on 19th century publisher's decorated bindings.
Roughly half of the Collection of 21,000 titles is 20th and 21st century. Historical materials are primarily English, European and American and date from 11th century to the end of the 19th century. Balancing a special commitment to collect current work from the dynamic Pacific Northwest, work is actively acquired from throughout the US, Canada, England and Europe. New work is being added continually.
Also in the Collection are hundreds of uncataloged paper samples, zines, and regalia, including materials donated by artists to support study of their work such as paste-ups, proofs, drawings, ephemera and photographs.