Skip to main content

You are here


Library's History

Massachusetts College of Art and Design is the oldest art school in Boston, but its library is even older than the College itself.

In 1871 the Massachusetts Board of Education created a "traveling museum." Plaster casts, drawings, paintings, and art books were transported by horse-drawn wagons to towns across the state. The purpose was to spread art knowledge throughout the citizenry. It was the first collection of visual reference materials in the United States created to support public art education.

The rigors of travel damaged the collection. Within a year the need for its safe storage became an arguing point for founding a state art school. Although we can't be certain if this was a deciding factor, in 1873 the legislature did create Massachusetts Normal Art School (now called Massachusetts College of Art and Design), and the traveling collection did indeed come to rest under its roof.

As MassArt developed, and the field of art education evolved, the collection also grew and developed: more books were acquired, and then journals, slides, films, videos, and digital images. In 1988, the library was named for the late Morton R. Godine, a Vice President and Trustee of the College.

Mission Statement

The Morton R. Godine Library is committed to upholding the mission of the College through equitable provision of library services and development of collections supporting the curriculum. In this spirit, free and open access to resources is afforded to the College community and the general public.

Employing visionary leadership, the Library supports the College's rigorous programs with quality services, extensive information resources, effective access tools, qualified staff, and an environment that fosters academic inquiry. These fundamentals, built on a solid foundation set forth in the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, inspire creativity, advance lifelong learning, and promote diversity. Through visual, verbal, textual, and experiential pedagogical approaches, the library encourages users to pursue individual growth and to be responsive, contributing citizens of the global community.


In pursuit of its mission, the library has seven core goals:

  • Offer quality services which facilitate the use of information and advance lifelong learning
  • Develop extensive information resources that support the curriculum, inspire creativity, and promote diversity
  • Maintain effective access tools that yield timely use of information
  • Provide qualified staff who are supported through ongoing professional development and progressive management
  • Create an accessible, healthy, inviting, and well-equipped environment that fosters academic inquiry
  • Promote and develop library programs that will broaden and diversify the patron base
  • Ensure there is a framework in place that will enable the library to provide excellent services and resources