Why should libraries have a part to play in making contemporary art available to the public? Isn’t that what museums and galleries are for? Libraries began to build up art collections in the 1960s in response to this debate, arguing that public libraries had a role to play in introducing contemporary art – much maligned and misunderstood – to a wider audience. However, simply loaning works out is no longer sufficient. The new challenge facing libraries is how to play a more active role in supporting the artists of tomorrow by encouraging creativity and artistic production and by acting as mediator between the artist and the audience.