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Re: Artists' books in the library

This discussion concerning artists' books in collections has been
extremely nteresting so far because the postings that I have read to date
seem to tell the down side to working with artists' books in libraries.
My experience is limited to the artists' books collection at the
University of Washington and is very "hands on and positive".

The collection is housed in Special Collections.  Since I am from out of
town (and very well trained) I contact the Book Arts Collection librarian
to make an appointment and tell her what I want to see.  Sometimes it's a
specific subject area or binding style, other times it's "show me
whatever is new to the collection".

When I arrive, there's a book truck full of books with my name on it.
The librarian sits with me for a few minutes, talks about special
handling needs for any of the books (those are usually separated on the
cart), then leaves me alone.  I'm free to spend as much time as I want,
touch them in any way I want (within reason) and sketch them or take
notes about them.  If she's not too busy, the librarian checks in with me
from time to time to see if I have any questions.  Sometimes a question
or comment will bring even *more* books.

Not all these books have Library of Congress call numbers but the ones
that do could probably be retrieved by filling out the usual request
form.  I've never done this but I'm assuming I would be handed the book
with whatever special handling needs explained to me just as if I had
requested an older industry printed book.

I do have to work within the bounds of Special Collections:  signing in,
giving up my coat and backpack, taking in only a pencil and my
sketch/notebook, etc.

I'm not aware of the complete makeup of the user group for this
collection but I know it is used extensively by University students and
the book arts population of Seattle.  The librarian regularily gives
tours of the collection and many people use it for problem solving and

It will be a shock to me if I am ever able to visit another large
artists' book collection (always a dream of mine) and find it not so user

Artemis BonaDea
North Bound Books
Box 240768
Anchorage, AK  99524


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