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Artists' books in the library (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 09:29:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: Susan H Cost <scost@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: BOOK_ARTS_L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Artists' books in the library

Hello fellow book artists,
I am a library science student at Indiana University and am currently
working on a project dealing with the collection of artists books. Being a
book artist, myself, but also someone who works in a library I feel that I
have a unique understanding of the problems that book artists face with
the display of their books in galleries and museums.

One of the problems that I see is the while books were intended to be
looked at, read from cover to cover, handled, smelled and generally
EXPERIENCED, most exhibitions prevent that from happening because they
don't want the general public handling the "art". So I am proposing the
collection of artists' books by appropriate libraries (i.e. a library with
a special collection).

This special collection of artists books would be handled with the same
capacity that a rare book collection would be handled. It would be a
closed stack, meaning that no one would be able to "browse" the stacks.
A patron would come in, request a book, and it would be brought to them
for their perusal. The books would never leave the library, except perhaps
in a special situation (of which I can't think of one reason right now).

What I would like to know is how all you book artists out there feel about
this? How do you feel about your books being collected by a library? How
do you feel about a patron being able to request your book, be able to sit
down with it, read it as perhaps it was intended to be read (rather than
through glass... a page a day...). Also, how do you feel about the idea
that these books will never go anywhere? They would not travel for
exhibits (although libraries generally do their own exhibits).

Mind you, this is a project that I am working on. The collection that I am
proposing is fictious, the library doesn't exist.. I would really like your
feedback as the important entity here is THE ARTIST and while I think it
is a good idea, maybe you don't. There are alot of special collections in
libraries right now that contain artists' books and perhaps your books are
in a special collections somewhere. Another problem that I see is that
while librarians are great at handling collected materials, when you say
artists' books to them, they think you are talking about book arts, which
is a whole different thing.

Please email me with your thoughts and comments. I am very interested to
know what you have to say about all of this.
My email address is:

Thank you so much for your time. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Susan Cost

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