The Art Bookshelf

From February 9th the Art Bookshelf will be open every Tuesday and Thursday from 2.30pm to 5.30pm in compliance with safety measures.

For information and requests you can write to

The Art Bookshelf, a library specialising in international art books for children, comprises over 2,000 titles, many of them now rare and virtually impossible to find, by such leading names in the word of illustration and art as Bruno Munari, Maurice Sendak, Suzy Lee, Kveta Pacovská, Katsumi Komagata, Alighiero Boetti, Leo Lionni and countless others. A place for meeting and interacting with art and books, the Art Bookshelf is a truly special library for "learning to see". Opening with a section that pays tribute to Bruno Munari, it goes on to tell the story of the 20th century and the story of art, also exploring silent books from five continents thanks to the Ibby Italia collection, and offering themed pathways, activities and quality reading connected with whatever exhibitions happen to be on at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni at the time.

This valuable heritage, which has been part of the Biblioteche di Roma catalogue since 2010, provides constant input for exhibitions and installations, and readings and workshops for children and teenagers, while also offering teaching staff, professionals and parents an opportunity to explore and update their skills thanks to our Professional Section which includes catalogues, critical essays and books on teaching art.

The Art Bookshelf's roots lie in the donation of a collection of books which Paola Vassalli made to the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo for the express purpose of starting a library specialising in international art publishing for children.

›› On line catalogue


A bit of history…

Dedicated to Bruno Munari on the hundredth anniversary of his birth, the Scaffale d’arte (Art Bookshelf) opened in 2007 with an exhibition of the Japanese artist Katsumi Komagata. There have been many shows dedicated to the world of illustration, Chiara Carrer (2008), the Mostra Illustratori dalla Fiera del Libro per Ragazzi of Bologna (2010) which marked the beginning of collaboration with the Libraries of Rome. There followed a tribute to Gianni Rodari (2010), Chiara Rapaccini and Vladimir Radunsky (2011), the Italian fables of Italo Calvino and an installation by Vittoria Facchini (2012), the international project Libri senza parole. Destinazione Lampedusa in collaboration with Ibby Italia (2013) and the exhibition I nostri Anni ’70. Libri per ragazzi in Italia (2014).

Many leading figures from the world of graphic design, illustration, art and publishing have been invited over the years for meetings and workshops including, to name just a few, Steven Heller, Rosemary Sassoon, Johannes Volkmann, Vanna Vinci, Giosetta Fioroni, Pietro Corraini and Fausta Orecchio.





admission free
Forum, via Milano 13