Ex libris

What is an ex libris?

An ex libris is a bookplate. The term ex libris is Latin for “from the books of”, “from the bookshelf of” or “from the library of”.

An ex libris is a label that combines literature and fine art. Printing houses printed them until the 20th century. They were small works of art, often made by well-known artists. As computer programs and printers evolved, people began to develop their own ex libris. These days, anyone can be an artist.

The subject of an ex libris symbolically describes things that are important in the life of the owner, from one’s profession and hobbies to one’s home region or family as well as nature, values and more.

An ex libris is typically placed on the first pastedown leaf of the book, that is, in the upper left corner of the inside front cover. Ex libris are important in tracing the owners of a book.

The JYU ex libris collection

The ex libris collection of the Jyväskylä University Library has grown through donations, exchanges and legal deposit copies. This ended with the amendment to the Act on Collecting and Preserving Cultural Materials in 2008, after which our library no longer receives ephemera, including ex libris.

The ex libris collection is in alphabetical order and arranged by the name of the bookplate owner. In addition, the bookplates of individuals and institutions are distinguished from ex libris received as gifts or made in memory of a person.

The ex libris of the Jyväskylä University Library

In 1996, the university library organized a competition in which the task was to design an ex libris for the library. There were 51 proposals made by 26 artists. Outi Markkanen won the competition with her proposal U.

The library of the School of Education as well as the University Library earlier had a donor ex libris, which was attached as an acknowledgement of the book donation.