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    Over 95% of Ringling Students use the library each year.

    At a college of art and design, the campus library is integral to student success—a place for browsing the web as well as browsing the stacks; a place to study in quiet contemplation or in groups of lively discussion; a place where project ideas are born and completed projects assembled.

    At Ringling College of Art and Design, the campus library is integral to the mission of preparing students to be discerning visual thinkers and ethical practitioners in their chosen field.

    As one of the best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts, Ringling College strives to ensure that its campus library is student-focused— adaptable to their changing needs, with fluid use of space and a variety of resources.

    In order to meet the ever-increasing needs of students, the Ringling College library must stretch its boundaries to be a place that more fully integrates media and technology for an enriched learning experience that fosters collaboration and provides thought-provoking opportunities for inspiration.

    The current library at Ringling College was built in 1980 to serve the needs of a few hundred students. Today that same space has to serve almost 1,400 students with more enrolling each year. Although it has been expanded and renovated over the years, the library doesn’t have enough room for either students or collections.

    In fact, nearly 30% of its collections are stored off site. Its present location will not accommodate further expansion or emerging technology.

    The 21st century campus library must be a hybrid learning center, with the technology and space to meet a range of student needs—from areas that can become individual personalized, multi-sensory environments to areas that foster group discussion and collaboration.


    Illustration Department Head Jeff Schwartz discusses the library's impact in attracting new students.
    The new library will be an active physical and virtual destination on the Ringling College campus—an intellectual, cultural, social, creative, and technological hub alive with the ebb and flow of students, faculty and visitors.

    Myriad opportunities for collaboration and interaction will provide both academic and social benefits. With increased technological capabilities and access, the new Ringling College library will redefine its mission and strengthen its instructional role within and beyond its walls. As important, students will have opportunities to define new boundaries of learning and using information resources.

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    With input from Ringling College students, staff, faculty and community supporters, Shepley Bulfinch architectural firm has created a multi-story building that is designed to be flexible and adaptable in order to respond to unpredictable technology shifts and evolving student needs.


    Design Team: Shepley Bulfinch, Boston, MA; Sweet | Sparkman, Sarasota, FL

    Location: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Old Bradenton Road

    Building Size: 50,000 square feet

    Capacity: 123,000 general collection, 15,000 special collections
    Special Features: a large computer lab and interactive study area, café, 15 group study rooms, 2 large instruction rooms, seating for 400, an academic resource center, a technology help desk, and special collections

    Community Use: Continued use for art research
    Design Team: Shepley Bulfinch, Boston, MA; Sweet | Sparkman, Sarasota, FL

    Location: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Old Bradenton Road

    Building Size: 50,000 square feet

    Capacity: 123,000 general collection, 15,000 special collections
    Special Features: a large computer lab and interactive study area, café, 15 group study rooms, 2 large instruction rooms, seating for 400, an academic resource center, a technology help desk, and special collections

    Community Use: Continued use for art research

    The ground floor of the new facility will welcome visitors with a variety of gathering spaces—a café, group study rooms, open seating, and a project work room. The second floor will feature a resource center, special collections, instruction rooms, and outdoor spaces. On the third floor, students will find the stacks, individual and group study areas, and more outdoor space.

    It is estimated that construction will cost $16 million.


    Click with mouse, Use scroll wheel, or Swipe with finger on the Images Below to Rotate:


    The images below illustrate the building design and impact the new library will have on the Ringling campus:

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  • A Special Message from Cheryl Loeffler - Library Building Committee Chair
    A Library Building Committee appointed by the Board of Trustees is guiding the project.
    Members are:

    Library Building Committee
    Cheryl Loeffler, Chair and Trustee
    Carolyn Johnson, Trustee
    Susan Palmer, Trustee
    Isabel Norton, Trustee
    Herman Frankel, Trustee
    Barbara Brizdle, Community Member
    Elenor Maxheim, Community Member
    Tracy Wagner, VP Finance and Administration
    Kathleen List, Director of Library Services
    Jeff Poleshek, Assistant Vice President/Director of Facilities

    Library Campaign Committee
    Isabel Norton, Co-Chair and Trustee
    Carolyn Johnson, Co-Chair and Trustee

    Major Gifts Solicitation Division

    George Davis, Community Member
    Dean Eisner, Trustee
    Ann Garberding, Community Member
    Larry Garberding, Community Member
    Stephanie Grosskreutz, Community Member
    Dan Hoffe, Community Member
    Jean Martin, Trustee
    Stan Williams, Trustee

    Special Events Division

    Renee Pastor, Community Member
    Carol Phillips, Community Member
    Barbara Rade, Community Member
    Barbara Siemer, Community Member
    Peggy Wilhelm, Community Member
    Merry Williams, Community Member

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    $16 Million Goal.
    $16,924,238 Raised to date... We've Surpassed our Goal!

    Updated As Of 4/10/2015

    A Special Message from Carolyn Johnson & Isabel Norton

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    We invite you to join us as we continue the journey to make Ringling College of Art and Design THE preeminent college of art and design.

    Dr. Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art & Design invites you to help grow the wonderful Ringling community.

    “We are so pleased to be leading the effort to fund the new library, which will be the heart of the 21st century Ringling College campus. We hope you will choose to join us and our committee of the community’s business and philanthropic leaders to make this enriched cultural resource for our students and our community a reality.”

    - Isabel Norton & Carolyn Johnson
    Co-Chairs Ringling College Library Campaign
    Over $15 million has already been committed to the new library project, including the generous $3.5 million support from the Ringling College Library Association. As you think about your gift, keep in mind that we need many gifts in all ranges to reach our goal. Every gift is important; each gift makes a difference.

    For more information about the new Ringling College library or how you can support this exciting new initiative, please contact the Office for Advancement at Ringling College of Art and Design.

    Your gift to the campaign is deductible as a charitable contribution to the full extent of the law. Due to the constantly changing nature of tax law, you are urged to consult with your tax advisor prior to any investment. Your gift will be recognized in a manner consistent with your level of giving.

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    Aaron Blaise

    Aaron graduated from the Ringling College of Art in Illustration in 1989. He was then hired by Walt Disney Feature Animation where he spent 21 years helping to create some of the greatest animated films ever made. During that time he worked as an animator or supervising animator on "The Rescuers Down Under", "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", "The Lion King", "Pocahontas", "Mulan". In 2003 he was co-director of "Brother Bear" for which we earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.

    After "Brother Bear" he helped to develop several projects but ultimately left Disney to pursue an opportunity back home in Florida. Aaron recently set a Kickstarter record for funding the first animated feature film via the crowd-funding platform. "Art Story" is currently in development.

    Brandon Oldenburg

    Academy Award winner Bradon Oldenburg invites you to support the library campaign.
    Brandon Oldenburg is an award-winning illustrator, designer, sculptor and film director.

    He co-founded the Shreveport, Louisiana based Moonbot Studios and co-directed The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which received an Academy Award for best animated short film.

    Prior to launching Moonbot, Oldenburg co-founded Reel FX Creative Studios specializing in design and special effects for clients as Troublemaker Studios, Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks and Blue Sky Studios. While at Reel FX, Oldenburg oversaw a joint venture with William Joyce, collaborating on works for Martha Stewart, Disney and title design for feature films such as Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Additionally, Oldenburg and renowned designer Brad Oldham collaborated on a giant nationally-acclaimed sculptural series for a $1.4 million commission called “The Traveling Man”. His illustrations have graced the covers for prestigious authors’ books such as Elmore Leonard and Michael Chabon. In 2010, Oldenburg was honored with the Distinguished Alumni of the Year from Ringling College of Art and Design, where he received his BFA in Illustration in 1995 and serves on the Board of Trustees.

    This Site/App is Created by The Following Ringling Alumni:

    Nick Burch - Programming, Video & Design | 2002 Computer Animation
    Kyle Cross - Graphics | 2003 Illustration
    James Knake - Additional Graphics | 1994 Illustration

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  • Thomas Carabasi- Department Head, Photography and Digital Imaging - Shares his thoughts on the importance of "keeping pace"
    In this digital age do you really need a new library?

    Yes. With the new building, the College redefines the Library’s mission, fundamentally repositioning it in the lives of students and faculty. When completed and fully implemented, the new facility will be a model 21st century college art and design library for the College and the arts community.

    The new library will be an active physical and virtual destination on campus. The centerpiece of the new facility is the learning commons concept of interrelated services and expert staff, a technology-rich hub of instructional resources and well-designed spaces. The ground floor of the two story building will be people and technology intensive, providing an initial layer of collaborative and social space. Learning is an intensely social activity, and the new library will function as a vital meeting and gathering place where students and faculty come together for activities in which the social dimension of learning is prominent.

    The current Kimbrough Library has only 12,000 square feet of space, seating for 100 students, and only one group study room. Much more space is needed to house its collections and serve the current and growing student population.

    The new library is a milestone project for Ringling College, which has expanded significantly in recent years, and will be the first major building project as part of the College’s campus master plan.

    The current library offers a high level of service and the latest technologies. Why not just expand it?

    When the current library was built in the 1980s, the enrollment at Ringling College was less than 400 students. It was expanded in 1990 and 1994 when the student population was under 800. Today Ringling has just under 1,400 students and plans to continue to grow in the future. Last year alone, the library welcomed over 100,000 visitors. Nearly 30% of the library’s collection currently has to be stored off site. Expansion would not be enough to meet the current or future needs of the College. No further expansion space is available in that location.

    How much more space will be available with the completion of the new library?

    The current facility is 12,000 square feet. The new library is expected to be a 50,000 square foot, multi- story building. It will have the capacity to house at least 123,000 items in the general collection—double the current collection—and 15,000 items in special collections, which is almost 14 times the current special collections area.

    What are some of the interesting features the new library will have?

    The new library will feature the Learning Commons - a large computer lab and interactive study area, a coffee bar/café, 15 group study/meeting rooms, 2 large instruction rooms, seating for more than 400, the Academic Resource Center, a technology help desk, a special collections area to house 15,000 items and much more.

    Will the community have access to the new library?

    Absolutely! As with the current library, community members will be able to use the facility for art research. Also, anyone can join the Ringling College Library Association which, among other benefits, gives members check out privileges.

    How much money is needed to build the library?

    Total project cost is estimated at $16 million.

    How much have you currently raised?

    To date, the library campaign committee has raised over $11 million, including cash and in-kind donations, pledges and planned gifts.

    How long will the campaign run?

    The campaign will be conducted over a 36 month period. The planning phase has been underway for several years. We are now ready to actively fundraise for the project.

    Who’s leading the fundraising effort?

    The library capital campaign is being co-chaired by Isabel Norton and Carolyn Johnson. Both Isabel and Carolyn are long-time members of the Ringling College Board of Trustees as well as having served in leadership capacities with the Ringling College Library Association. In addition, the committee is comprised of Ringling College faculty, staff, trustees and representatives from the local business and philanthropic community.

    What kind of gifts are you seeking to fund the library?

    First and foremost, we are seeking contributions of cash and pledges to fund the construction of the new building. There are numerous ways for donors to make gifts. If a donor is interested in making a planned gift or any other type of gift, we certainly want to discuss how that gift will help the library.

    Who is contributing to the library campaign?

    Ringling College of Art and Design has many generous friends who are ready to invest in this important project. We’re already hearing from alumni, community leaders, friends, faculty and staff.

    Why do you need to raise money for a new library? Isn’t that what the Ringling College Library Association and the Town Hall Lecture series does?

    The Ringling College Library Association is, to date, the largest contributor to the new library, committing over $3.5 million to construction of a new building. In addition, the Library Association will continue to support the operations and acquisitions of the current library. However, the total construction cost of a new library cannot be met by the Library Association alone and additional support is needed to make the project a reality.

    Where is the library going to be built?

    The library will be will be located in the heart of the campus, on the southeast corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Old Bradenton Road along the picturesque Whitaker Bayou.

    Who is the architect for the new library?

    The design team for the library is Shepley Bulfinch architects from Boston, MA, and local architectural firm Sweet | Sparkman.

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