About Cornish Library

Main Campus Center, Floor 2, Room 205 | libraryref@cornish.edu | 206.726.5145
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About the Cornish Library

The Cornish Library offers a specialized collection of Visual and Performing Arts materials.  Humanities and Sciences subject areas are covered in support of the classes taught at Cornish.  For topics not covered in the campus library collection, students have access to a large electronic book collection as well as other online resources.  Students can also use Seattle Public Library’s general collection and online databases for free.  The Cornish Library offers Interlibrary Loan service.

Using the Cornish Library


  • Students – Currently enrolled only.
  • Faculty – Currently employed only. Adjuncts may use the Library during semesters when they are teaching, beginning two weeks before the first day of class. If a current adjunct is scheduled to teach the following semester, access will be extended over the winter break and/or summer as applicable. Questions? Please call 206-726-5145.
  • Staff – Currently employed only.
  • Alumni – Only those who have purchased Alumni Borrowing privileges. (See Library Resources + Services.)

Anyone who wants to check out library materials must present a current Cornish ID Card.


  • Lost ID Card — The replacement fee is $25.00. Pay at the Cashier’s office, then take your receipt to the Security Office to receive a new card.
  • Damaged or Defective ID Card — No charge. Take your card directly to the Security Office and turn it in for a replacement.

Checkout Limit + Renewals + Other Information

Checkout Limit
No more than 25 items may be checked out at a time. If you have 10 or more overdue items, you can’t check out anything else until your overdue items are returned.

Everything that circulates can be renewed up to three times in succession, if no requests or holds have been placed on the material by other borrowers. You may renew items in person, by phone or by email. You must provide your Cornish ID number and the barcode number for each item you wish to renew.

Overdue Items
The Library does not charge daily overdue fees. However, when your items become 30 days overdue, your borrowing privileges will be suspended and you will be responsible for the full replacement cost of the items. If the overdue items are returned promptly, the replacement charge(s) will be removed.

For long-delinquent items, after formal contact methods have been pursued, replacement charges will be reported to Student Accounts. Once the replacement charges are reported to Student Accounts, the charges cannot be waived, even if items are returned.

Students, please note: If you have not cleared your Library account by the time you graduate or withdraw, your diploma and/or transcripts will be held by the Registrar. Formal collection procedures also may be pursued.

When you check out scores you are responsible for both the score and any accompanying parts. If a part is lost or damaged, you will be charged for replacing the complete score and parts.

A/V Equipment
Be aware that you are responsible for the replacement cost of any A/V equipment that is damaged, lost or stolen while it is checked out to you.

Periodicals & Class Reserve Materials
Please return these items promptly. Your borrowing privileges will be suspended the moment these items become overdue. These are high-demand items and we cannot afford to have these materials unavailable for other students.

Replacement Charges
Replacement costs are due if library items are returned damaged or lost. In addition to replacement costs, a $10.00 processing fee will be assessed for each lost item. Regardless of whether payment has been made for an item, library items remain the property of the college and must be returned. Materials cannot be purchased from the Library.

Reporting Lost or Damaged Items
If you have lost or damaged items, contact the Library and ask to speak with a librarian to determine the amount you owe and to receive more information about payment options. You can reach us by phone at 206-726-5145 or by email at libraryref@cornish.edu.

Circulation Periods

  • Books: 2 weeks
  • Periodical, current issue: library use only
  • Periodical, back issues: 1 week
  • Newspapers: library use only
  • Reference Books (Special Collection): library use only
  • “Red Dot” Books (Special Collection): library use only (faculty 3 days)
  • Oversized Books (Special Collection): library use only (faculty 3 days)
  • Scripts: 1 week
  • Scores: 2 weeks
  • Class Reserve Materials (Depends on circulation period chosen by faculty)
  • Music (CD + Cassettes): 3 records for 3 days (students); 1 week (faculty)
  • Music (Vinyl): library use only (students); 1 week (faculty)
  • Video (DVD + VHS): Limit of 3 videos for 3 days (students); 1 week (faculty)
  • Image Collection (See curator for Visual Resources for an appointment)
  • A/V: Normally checked out by the hour up to one day in advance. Primarily for faculty use only, but available to students for special projects. Students must sign a form assuming responsibility for replacement costs if equipment is damaged or not returned.

Library Services + Resources

On-Site Collection - In the Library

  • Books – 30,000
  • Music Scores – 5,200
  • Journal Titles – 140
  • Slides – 45,000
  • CDs and other music recordings – 7,000
  • Videos – 3,700

Online Collections

See the Research Databases page for a complete list of resources and links.

  • Electronic Books – 130,000 from Ebrary Academic Complete
  • Full-text Journals – 10,172 from ProQuest Research LibraryArt SourceJSTOR Arts & Sciences IIIFilm & Television Literature Index with Full TextInternational Bibliography of Theater and Dance with Full Text.
  • Digital Images – 1.9 million from ARTstor.
  • Streaming Music Tracks – 1.5 million from Naxos Music Library – Classical and Jazz.
  • Streaming Videos – 2,500 from Naxos Video Library and On the Boards.tv.
  • Online Video Tutorials – 100,000 from Lynda.com.
  • Online Encyclopedias – 4 including Britannica Online Academic EditionThe International Encyclopedia of DanceOxford Art Online (with Grove Dictionary of Art), and Oxford Music Online (with Grove Dictionary of Music).

Cornish Historical Archives

Materials related to the history of Cornish can be found at the University of Washington Special Collections and in the Cornish Library.  For more information see the Cornish Archives Research Guide.

Interliberary Loan

Interlibrary loans (ILL) allow you to request books, or articles, from other libraries when the item you need is not held in the Cornish Library collection or at local public libraries. If you haven’t yet searched for your title in our library, you can search the Cornish Library Catalog here.

Please note: Interlibrary loans are not a substitute way for students to access required course materials. Any item on course reserve is considered available, so requests for these titles will not be filled as an ILL request.

We try to borrow from libraries that lend for free, or for a minimal fee, so we usually do not charge our library users for interlibrary loan. Help us keep this service free by only requesting items essential to your academic work at Cornish. If you are requesting something unusual, there may be a significant lending fee. If so, we will notify you, before sending the request, to discuss the options. If a lending fee is prohibitively expensive, there may be a service charge.

Interlibrary loans take time since the book has to be sent through the mail. At the longest, an interlibrary loan transaction can take anywhere from two to three weeks, depending upon the lending library’s location and the item’s availability. Most libraries do not send CD or DVD formats through interlibrary loan.

Use the request form to request a title through interlibrary loan. Requests are not guaranteed, and depend on the availability of the item at participating libraries. A librarian will respond to your request as soon as we know if we can obtain the item for you.

Request Form


Librarian Services

Cornish Librarians are available at the front desk during the day, Mon-Fri, for questions and research assistance. They can help you find the best information resources available for your project or assignment. Librarians teach introductory and advanced research methods for a variety of classes across all four years. Library orientations are offered for incoming freshmen and transfer students.

Library Computer Services

  • Connect to the campus wireless network via Wi-Fi; available throughout the library and the entire MCC building.
  • Most freshmen register for Wi-Fi using self-signup instructions provided by Housing.  If you need assistance setting up your device on Cornish’s wireless network, check with the Information Technology office, Room 106.

Student Computer Lab

  • 12 computers running Windows 7.
  • Software: Office suite, Paint.net, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Open Office, PDF Creator, PDF Binder, Adobe Reader, Paint.NET, ARTstor Offline Image Viewer, QuickTime, Windows Movie Maker, CDBurnerXP, Real Player, Zotero Standalone, VideoLAN VLC Player, Firefox browser, Chrome browser, Internet Explorer browser.  Also science and math software: Scilab, Blender and Mandelbulber.
  • Drives available on lab PCs: DVD, USB port for thumb drive.
  • The lab is sometimes reserved for library instruction—class times will be posted on the front doors of the library and the lab.

Class Reserves

Search your class reserves here:


  • Printing is fee-based and requires an account set up with the Cornish Cashier.
  • At the beginning of the academic year, each student will start off with a $20 credit in their printing account as a free quota.   After the quota us used up, they will need to add money to the account to keep printing for the remainder of the academic year.
  • Black & White printer in computer lab:  1¢ per page.
  • Color printing sent to Xerox copy machine in library:  8.5×11 – 25¢ per page.  11×17 – 50¢ per page.


  • Self-service Xeroxcopy machine. Provides change for bills up to $20.
  • Enlarges and reduces.
  • B&W copies: 8.5×11 – 10¢ per page.  11×17 – 20¢ per page.
  • Color copies: 8.5×11 – 25¢ per page.  11×17 – 50¢ per page.
  • Scan to USB flash drive for free.

Media Room

Equipment is available for playing and copying CDs, Cassette tapes, DAT tapes, vinyl LP records, DVD and VHS videos.

Alumni Services

Alumni Library Borrowing Privileges

There is an annual registration fee of $50.  Your alumni library privileges allow you to check out materials from the Library’s collection.  Due to licensing agreements with database providers, the privileges do not include access to the online research databases.  For more information about how to register for alumni library privileges, please contact the Circulation Supervisor.

Cornish Performance CD/DVD Duplication Service

If you need a copy of a Cornish Performance you have two options:

  • You can bring blank CDs or DVDs and make copies in the library’s media lab.  We have equipment to copy cassette to CD, VHS to DVD, and a high-speed CD to CD or DVD to DVD copier.
  • Library staff can make copies for you and mail them for a service fee.  One copy = $10. Two or more copies = $8 each. The fee will cover the blank CD or DVD, one slim jewel case, labor, and postage (determined by campus mail service). Please contact the Circulation Supervisor if you need the duplicating service.

Special Assistance: Proxy Borrower

Students needing assistance transporting library items may be eligible to appoint another person as a proxy borrower.  E-mail or call for more info: 206-726-5145.

Faculty Library Services

Research Instruction by Cornish Librarians

If you would like to request research instruction for a specific class or assignment, or bring your class to the library for a research period, please contact us in advance. We are able to provide your students with the best assistance if you send copies of your syllabi and assignments or post them on Canvas. For more information contact Megan Smithling, (206) 726-5129 or Bridget Nowlin, (206) 726-5126.

For a one-on-one consultation with a librarian to facilitate personal research, stop by the reference desk during business hours. You may also e-mail reference questions to: libraryref@cornish.edu or call (206) 726-5145.

Librarians can create an online Research Guide specifically for your class.  Contact Megan Smithling, msmithling@cornish.edu, (206) 726-5129 or Bridget Nowlin, bnowlin@cornish.edu, (206) 726-5126, for more information.

Request Titles for the Library Collection

You can send new title request to the faculty member who serves as the Library Liaison for your department.  Selection criteria from the Collection Development Policy will apply.  If you have additional questions please contact Hollis Near, (206) 726-5040.

The Library Liaison is an academic department’s primary representative to the library for collection development input. Among other things, they help coordinate faculty requests for new library materials and update faculty on the library’s budget and order deadlines throughout the year.

Committee members and faculty interested in serving on the committee, please see the Library Liaison Committee Resource Guide for instructions, collection development policies and forms.  Faculty members who serve on the Library Liaison Committee are assigned by the Faculty Senate.

Confirmed 2018-19 Library Liaisons.

Support for Classroom Instruction

Place materials on reserve for your class for 2 hrs in-library-use, overnight, or 3 day checkout, using our online form.  You can see everything you currently have on reserve by searching your name in the Course Reserves section of the Library Catalog.  For more information, see the Course Reserves information page. For questions, contact the Access Services Librarian, Nick Triggs, (206) 726-5062.

The Library has an array of equipment available to faculty. Equipment may be reserved ahead of time online, via email, or by calling (206) 726-5145.

Terms of use

  • Library staff is not available to deliver or set up AV equipment in classrooms. For set up assistance, please contact the IT department,(206) 726-5092.
  • Faculty are encouraged to check out their own equipment. Faculty needing special assistance transporting library items may be eligible to formally appoint another person as a proxy. E-mail or call for more info: (206) 726-5145.
  • Please avoid relying on students to check out equipment for you.  Students cannot check out material in another person’s name and assume financial responsibility for whatever they check out on their own card.

30 Minute Rule

  • If a patron does not come to pick up their equipment, or call/email to ask that it be held, within 30 minutes of their scheduled pick up the library reserves the right to cancel the reservation and check out the AV equipment to other patrons.

Types of Equipment Available

  • AV carts: 40” LCD Flat Panel HDTV, region-free Blu-Ray/DVD player, VCR, and speakers.
  • Digital Projector.
  • Digital Media Player.
  • External Disc Drives.
  • PA/Monitor Speaker.
  • Microphone.
  • Portable Boom Boxes: CD, cassette, and radio capability.
  • Slide projectors: case includes projector, carousel, and remote control.
  • Portable Projection Screens
  • Overhead Projectors
  • Opaque Overhead Projector
  • Extension cords
  • Mac adaptors


  • Many classrooms are equipped with projection equipment. Assignment of classrooms for regular classes is handled by the Registrars office, please contact them with scheduling questions: registrationrecords@cornish.edu. Scheduling rooms for one-time or occasional events is handled through the EMS Events Management System.
  • Equipment in the classrooms is maintained by the IT department. For questions about set up, help using the equipment, or repairs, please contact the IT department.
  • Some classrooms have projection equipment that can only be accessed by checking out a podium packet from the library.  Podium packets have keys to equipment lockers, remotes, and/or mac adapters. If you’re not sure whether your classroom requires a podium packet, email the library or call the front desk at 206-726-5145.
  • Faculty & staff can check out podium packets up to 30 minutes before their room reservation or class.  Classrooms are booked throughout the day, so we ask that podium packets be returned as soon as classes are over.
  • Faculty are encouraged to pick up and check out their own podium packets.
  • Faculty needing special assistance transporting library items may be eligible to formally appoint another person as a proxy borrower.  E-mail or call for more information: (206) 726-5145.
  • Please avoid relying on students to pick up podium packets for you.  Students cannot check out material in another person’s name and assume financial responsibility for whatever they check out on their own card.

A list of computer labs and classrooms outfitted with AV equipment, maintained by the IT Department, can be found here on Compass.

Ensure that the video or CD you want to show in class will be available. Place holds at least a week in advance by contacting the Library Circulation Desk, (206) 726-5145.

Most library items can be placed on hold by using your library account in our online catalog, by emailing us or by calling us at 206-726-5145

Items that are not checked out are pulled by library staff twice a day, so that they can be ready for you when you come to pick them up. Items that are checked out will be held for you as soon as they are checked in and you will be notified.

You can choose to pick up holds at the library circulation desk, or at Kerry Hall in the Security Office. Items mailed to Kerry Hall are usually available within one day. They can also be returned to the Kerry Hall book drop in the main lobby.

Once an item is placed on hold, you have seven days to pick it up. After that the hold will be removed.

See the library’s Research Guide on Copyright and Fair Use Resources.

Faculty may request “Instructional Privileges” to Artstor, Cornish’s digital image database. This allows faculty to create course folders with image groups. Faculty manage these folders and can set up student folders for the sharing of images and comments. Please contact Bridget Nowlin, (206) 726-5126, for more information and training.

Cornish Library Gifts + Donations


Monetary Gifts for the Library Collection Fund

Monetary gifts in support of the Library are always welcome. Monetary gifts can be earmarked to purchase materials for a specific subject (art, dance, design, humanities and sciences, music, theater or performance production) or format (books, scores, sound recordings or videos). Gifts can also be left to the discretion of the Library to purchase what is needed most.

To make a gift, please contact the Office of Advancement. Specify that your gift is for the Library Collection Fund 210-4360-5340-00000.


Gifts of Materials for the Library Collection

We are very appreciative of donation offers for the Library collection, however we do not have space to accept large collections.

Contact Hollis Near, Director of Library Services, to discuss any gifts of books, scores, recordings, etc. Please do not drop off gifts at the Library without making prior arrangements.

We are currently open to donations in the following areas:

  • Scripts for newer plays (2000 to the present).
  • Chamber music scores with parts.
  • Materials related to the history of Cornish: photographs, correspondence, scrapbooks, programs, etc. (Cornish Archives)

The Materials Donations Process

  1. We discuss the gift before accepting. We sincerely appreciate all offers of library donations, but please understand we need to ask questions to determine if the material is appropriate for the collection. We have limited space and need to discuss the contents and officially accept the gift before delivery can be made.
  2. Donations are reviewed. All donations are subject to review. We are particularly concerned about subject relevance to the collection, physical condition and available storage space.
  3. Lists are helpful. It is helpful if you can provide us with a list of titles you wish to donate so we can check to see what we already own. However, a list is not required and with some larger gifts it may not be not practical.
  4. We cannot pick up donations. Donations need to be delivered to the College; we do not have staff available to drive to people’s homes. (In certain circumstances when someone is not able to drive, we have made special arrangements on a case-by-case basis.) Please discuss any issues with donation delivery with the library director if you have concerns.
  5. Donations become College property which can be sold. Once accepted, most gifts items are added to the collection. However, at some point any item may be sold to a dealer to raise money for other library titles or traded for other library titles or removed from the collection for updating. (See Gift Policy below.)
  6. Donations may also be given away. We do not hold book sales so we try not to accept materials we cannot use. If we discover any unneeded titles that are not good candidates for resale or trade, they are usually put on a “free” table for the students and faculty.
  7. Donations may be withdrawn later from the collection. Library collections are periodically weeded and titles are removed for a variety of reasons including condition, currency, and relevancy.  Donated items will be withdrawn in the same manner as purchased material. The Library cannot accept responsibility for notifying donors of withdrawal or replacement of gift items.

Donations of Artist Materials

Cornish Library is not a regional archives for the arts. Cornish Library is a working college collection that is used heavily by students and faculty. The Library cannot function as a permanent archive for personal papers, artists’ works or personal book collections that require special housing. Anything given to the library needs to become part of the general, circulating collection. We cannot accommodate gifts that require special handling or other special conditions. Please also note, the Library does not have a facility for rare books and manuscripts.

Donations of Cornish Historical Materials

If you have material that is specifically relevant to the history of Cornish College of the Arts, please talk to the Library Director. The Library does maintain a small collection of Cornish publications, photographs, miscellaneous documents and ephemera. The University of Washington also has a collection of material from the early days of Cornish’s history. See Cornish Archives.

Other Questions About Donations

If you have something not addressed here, please contact the Director of Library Services to discuss.


Materials Gift Policy

Upon receipt, all gift materials become the property of Cornish College of the Arts Library. Cornish Library reserves the right to determine retention, location, cataloging treatment and other considerations relating to the use and disposition of gifts. Materials not selected for addition to the collection may be sold, donated to students or faculty, recycled, discarded or otherwise disposed. Proceeds from the sale of any unselected items are used to purchase additional titles for the Cornish Library.


Where to Deliver Your Gift

Please make delivery arrangements with the Library prior to dropping off donations. We have very limited space and need to discuss the contents and officially accept your donation before you delivery it.

For current Library hours, location or to print map and parking information, please view our contact information.


Acknowledging Donations

Gift items that are added to the library collection are reported to the Cornish Office of Institutional Advancement and acknowledged with a letter. Acknowledgments typically include the date the donation was received, a brief description of the donation and the total number of items donated.  If you are making a donation and require an itemized list of titles, we recommend that you prepare an inventory list of your materials and include a copy of that list with your donations.


Donor Recognition on Gifted Materials

Upon request, the Library can add bookplates to gifted materials showing the donor’s name. We reserve the right to make exceptions for certain formats or rare or fragile materials. Some donors prefer not to be publicly recognized. Please advise the Library of your preference.

Gift Selection

Although we try to discuss all materials in advance and only accept titles we can use, some gifts (like boxes of unidentified titles) have to be evaluated after delivery to the Library. In such cases, each donated item is reviewed for addition to the collection by librarians with subject specialties in the visual and performing arts. After that review, we decide which materials will be added to the collection. Due to our workload, we are not able to notify donors of each title’s disposition or return those items not added to the collection.

Tax Information & Appraisals

Some donors require a receipt for tax purposes. The Cornish Office of Institutional Advancement provides an acknowledgment letter which functions as a receipt of goods. This letter does not include an appraisal of fair market value. IRS laws prohibit the Library and its employees from assessing the monetary value of any donated goods or “gifts-in-kind.”

As a donor, you are responsible for determining your personal tax obligations and whether your donations require appraisal. The IRS recommends that the appraisal of books “should be done by a specialized appraiser.”

For more information about appraising materials donations, please consult IRS Form 561 Determining the Value of Donated Property and IRS Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions. If you do not have Internet access, you may call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) 24 hours a day to have copies of the publications mailed to you. Consult the forms directly for full details and required documentation.

For more general information on appraisals and old/rare books you may be interested in a document entitled Your Old Books published by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.