CCA's New Materials Library is a collection for the imagination. It showcases new and innovative materials with a focus on eco-friendly, sustainable, and technologically smart products. The select group of materials are meant to inspire investigation into the materiality of things rather than for the purpose of obvious practical applications. The scope is interdisciplinary, serving designers, architects, fine artists, and others in their creative work.
Housed on display panels, the collection is openly accessible for visual browsing, tactile handling, and serendipitous exploration. Detailed information about the samples can be found in the library's web-accessible New Materials Database.
For reference to a larger assortment of materials, the library has a subscription to Material Connexion, a commercial resource that offers a searchable database of its collections. (Click "Guest" for on-campus access or create an account when you're on-campus to access the database from home later on.)
Neither the New Materials Library nor Material Connexion distributes products to the end user, but both provide information on where to source the samples. Those needing a particular material should contact the manufacturer or distributor directly.
Visiting the New Materials Library
The library is off the central nave of the main building at 1111 Eighth Street. The CCA community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors enjoy free access to the resource center for individual research or class use. Please note that the collection is non-consumable and non-circulating.
Regular hours are posted for the academic year, and appointments are strongly encouraged especially for class visits. During summer sessions when the facility is closed, please start your materials research with our Material Connexion database. Email matlib [at] cca [dot] edu or call Simpson Library 415.703.9574 to inquire about access.
A Collection for the Imagination
The collection currently contains about 1,000 samples, ranging from colorful tufts of synthetic fur to futuristic-looking aluminum foam.
The New Materials Library acquires around twenty new samples each year. To make room for new materials, samples are withdrawn when no longer in production or not available to the general public. As needed, the library seeks comparable material still in production.
Development of the New Materials Library
In development since 1999, the resource center was funded by three major grants from the George Frederick Jewett Foundation (for a total of $75,000).
Leslie Speer, David Meckel, Tim Perks, Tylor Garland, and Matt Paprocki were instrumental in getting the project off the ground. The collection is now administered by the CCA Libraries.