January 17, 2022

Borrow Art From a Lending Library in Minneapolis & “Art to Go” at the Iowa City Public Library


From Vita.mn

So it was with great excitement that we met Larsen Husby and Mac Balentine. Last June, along with friend Julia Caston, the two newbie gallerists invited looky-loos into cozy Stevens Square apartment gallery the Ledge for the experimental launch of the Minneapolis Art Lending Library. With a valid ID, visitors could “check out” any piece from a donated pool of local artwork … and display it in their homes for up to two months. The concept, inspired by the longstanding French tradition of artothèques, was a hit.

Direct to Minneapolis Art Lending Library Web Site

Iowa City Public Library

Video Report from KCRG

Beyond the checkout counter and behind stacks of books at the Iowa City Public Library, one can find a wall full of works of art. Library goers can take that art home with them.

For two months at a time, the library lets patrons check out up to two pieces from their posters and paintings collection. Just like a book, all that’s needed is a library card.


The program is called Art-To-Go. It began in the 1960s.

“[It] started with just a small collection of framed posters, I would imagine maybe 30 to 50 items. Now, we have right around 400,” Candice Smith, librarian, said.

What Can You Borrow?
Direct to OPAC Entries for Items in the Art to Go Collection

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.