Commercial materials library question

I’ve recently been contacted by a vendor of Material ConneXion, a global consulting and materials library.  (See their marketing blurb, below.)  Our fashion program is small, so I’m not convinced that we need a materials library, but I thought I’d ask those that have one to speak up.  If you have, or have had, a materials library:

1)  Is it kept with the academic library information resources, or within a “fashion lab?”

2)  How are the physical resources cataloged?  Kept secure?

3)  How extensively is are the physical materials used by fashion design students?  How extensively are the online information resources used?  (What degree offerings do you have?  How many fashion design students do you have?)

4)  What were your primary reasons for creating / maintaining a materials library?

Any other information you can provide would be helpful!  Thanks!


“Material ConneXion, global consulting and materials library offers extensive academic programs that allow students and faculty members to have access to more than 6,500 innovative, advanced and sustainable materials. Members have unlimited access to the online database, subscription to MATTER magazine, monthly updates on 50-60 new materials and special onsite academic programs. Licensing opportunities are available, allowing academic institutions to create their own on site Materials library of rotating material samples developed around your school’s curricula.  Our unique display system provides easy access to material samples and information. For a practical and direct access to new materials, schools can subscribe to Active Matter. Shipped directly to your school four times a year, Active Matter™ is an indispensable tool for anyone in the creative disciplines.  Each quarterly materials box provides a hand-picked selection of the latest materials and creative inspiration from the world’s leading materials experts.” 


5 thoughts on “Commercial materials library question

  1. Parsons has a materials library called the Donghia Materials Library and Study Center:

    It is located and administered separately from the academic libraries – a faculty member curates the collection. I am not sure if and how the materials are cataloged.

    Like at CSM, it primarily serves interior design and product design students.

  2. Hi Sandra and Rachel,

    I am currently the fashion librarian at Central Saint Martins (part of the University of the Arts London, along with the London College of Fashion), and we do have a materials and products collection in our library. Although our materials collection has a space within the library we have a dedicated member of staff who oversees the collection and deals with all enquiries- she is qualified in Industrial Design and works with us 3 days a week and LCF 2 days a week. As far as I can tell her greatest traffic comes from Textiles, Product Design and Industrial Design students; I think the Fashion students here have never intensively used the collection but that’s possibly to do with the fact that up until last year we were split across two sites; with the fashion students based in Soho and the Textiles students (along with the materials and products collection) based at our other London site. It will be interesting to see how this changes over the coming years, and whether the fashion students end up relying on the collection more.

    In terms of how we keep the resources we are currently waiting to have revamp of the area that houses that collection so at the moment everything is still in boxes after our Summer library move! However, in the past the materials samples were kept chained and hanging from special metal grids so the students would be free to browse, there is also a large collection of materials catalogues but I believe the materials co-ordinator had her own way of arranging those- they were not catalogued on the library catalogue.

    With regard to online resources I know the subscription we have to Materio is very popular but I’m sure there are more databases available to them. The name and contact details of the materials co-ordinator for CSM and LCF: Jess Lertvilai (, if you’ve not already made contact.

    Good luck!


    • Thank you very much, Alex! Please do keep us posted with regard to how your fashion students use the materials library in the future.

      Also, would you mind describing the relationship between Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion? If I understood your post correctly, they are separate schools but both a part of the University of the Arts London. Would you mind clarifying this for me?

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