Conversation with Erinn Paige and Laura Damon-Moore of The Library as Incubator Project (Part 2)

In this second part of my interview Erinn Paige and Laura Damon-Moore of The Library as Incubator Project we talk about makerspaces and more.

Tell me about your involvement with makerspaces and the class that you teach on the subject.

Laura: We came to the conversation about maker spaces pretty early on, and I would say that our main function was and continues to be as a clearinghouse for stories ABOUT maker spaces in libraries. We are by no means the only clearinghouse/info-sharing hub out there on that topic. I think the makerspace discussion fits really well with the LAIP’s focus on hands-on, self-directed, participatory learning, and we consider maker programs a key part of the “arts-incubating” library. Our online course, the Makerspace Mindset (which runs through University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies Continuing Ed), operates in a similar way that the LAIP does as a whole–it’s a place for story sharing, practical how-to’s, professional development, and lots of discussion about how to approach maker programs and resources in a way that makes sense for your library and your community. Scalabilty is a big thing that we talk about–how a small library can make meaningful maker programming happen without space, time, or extra money.

Erinn: I think the exciting thing about makerspaces in libraries is that it definitely fits into the basic mission of providing access to information, but there aren’t a lot of best practices set in stone yet.  Makerspaces are an exciting service model because they really push libraries toward that platonic ideal of information life cycle– people don’t just consume information in a makerspace, they create new information in the form of new stuff. They learn skills by applying them directly to a project.  I think Laura’s point about scalability speaks directly to the idea that this is new-ish territory for libraries (though the conversation about active learning models has been raging for awhile in education)– there are hundreds of ways to create a space for this kind of information exchange in a library setting.

Are maker programs finding their way into academic art libraries? Which should we take note of?

Laura: They definitely are happening. We’ve published some neat examples on our website. I LOVE the Hatchery, a web resource published by the Glasgow School of Art Library which documents the myriad ways that the GSA Art Library incubates the work of artists at GSA and beyond.  We also were lucky enough to visit the Rakow Research Library at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY this January. This amazing research library is doing a lot to support hands-on learning and making.

These examples said, I’d love to hear MORE from academic art libraries about maker programs that they’re hosting–I know there’s a lot happening and we’d love to share it, of course!

What do you think are the most important issues facing the arts in libraries today?

Erinn:  Communication.  Both libraries and arts organizations need a crash course in advocacy and PR.  Essentially, you take what you do, and you re-phrase it in the language that politicians speak.  This is a no-brainer, and it clearly works, and yet libraries and arts orgs seem to perpetually struggle with it.  If you’re only talking about what you believe in in terms that make sense to you, you’re preaching to the choir.  You have to communicate it to others in the context that means the most to them.

Just for fun – what is your favorite library? Work of art or artist?

Erinn: My favorite library is the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main, which is in the Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh and is in this fabulous, monolithic building along with the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.  The windows in the upper level stacks look out onto the dinosaur exhibits. Plus, the people who work there are incredibly smart and are doing great things.

Laura: I will always have a soft spot for the library in my hometown, Mount Vernon, Iowa. It is a funky library; the Mount Vernon Public Library collection is housed in the basement of Russell D. Cole Library, the academic library on the Cornell College campus. Growing up I thought it was totally natural to be going to watch a puppet show or to check out picture books in the same library where college students were checking out their books and writing research papers.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Erinn:  Follow us!  We have a small social media empire and we share great content and ideas from arts-incubating librarians all across the country and the world.  We’d love to talk to you and find out more about what you’re excited about at the intersection of art and libraries.

Laura: Definitely that we want to hear from you and work with you to tell your arts + library stories!

Conversation with Erinn Paige and Laura Damon-Moore of The Library as Incubator Project (Part 1)

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Erinn Paige (left) and Laura Damon-Moore (right) are at the helm of The Library as Incubator Project. I recently talked with them about LAIP and their other endeavors.

What is Library As Incubator Project and what motivated you to embark on this adventure?

Laura: At this point, the Library as Incubator Project is a multifaceted information sharing machine. We continue to exist online, through our primary website and in social media neighborhoods. We’ve been lucky enough to publish a book based on and extending the work we do online. We also exist in “real life” through public presentations, professional development workshops, and in-person programs that we do for libraries and other cultural institutions.

At the most basic level, the LAIP began as a way to explore the connection between libraries and creative people. Erinn and I came to Library and Information services with backgrounds in the humanities and creative arts. So the LAIP started as a way to explore the connection of creativity, information, and community, to see how it happens formally and informally in the library setting, and then, because we were hearing so many great stories, we knew we had to share them with a wider audience.

What were/are some challenges and rewards in running Library As Incubator Project?

Erinn: It is a constant challenge to juggle a full time job and the LAIP, which could easily be a full time job in and of itself.  We’re both also artists in our own right (hence our interest in the library-arts connection), and supporting a creative life while sharing stories of other people’s creative lives can be a challenge too!

But the place that the whole project sprang from is an elegant support– it’s that egalitarian, helpful library space, AND it’s that hands-on creative space that you find in a studio environment.  We’re very project oriented, and so Laura and I and our team will take on individual LAIP projects that interest us, and when we hit obstacles, we have a whole team who can offer critique, just like you get in a studio:  what’s working, what isn’t, techniques that could help, skills and resources to apply. By the same token, we also really support one another in our creative pursuits.

Laura: I wish we had more time and more resources to do more, more, more! It was definitely a challenge to settle into a routine as we all graduated and juggled job stuff plus the LAIP. For a while it felt like there were a lot of balls up in the air and we were sort of scrambling to sort out who would catch which one as they fell.

Rewards have got to be the community that has developed around the LAIP. This ranges from our teammates, Katie and Holly, to our awesome site post contributors (cough cough, Rebecca, cough) to the people that we connect with on social media and in person at programs and conferences. When we go visit institutions and talk with people, people are generally excited to talk with us, but WE get so much MORE excited hearing about the amazing programs and partnerships people have going on. It’s the best and absolutely why I keep working on this.

What are your “day jobs” and how do they integrate with managing Library As Incubator Project?

Erinn: I’m the Programing Librarian at New Canaan Library in New Canaan Connecticut, which is a relatively new position for me– I just started in 2014.

Although the actual work of running the Library as Incubator Project ( web building, editing, writing, social media, presentations and conferences, etc etc) all happens on my own time, the philosophical underpinnings that guide our work on the LAIP transfer directly to programming librarianship– namely, that information isn’t always something that you can collect and slap a barcode on in order to provide access.  There’s a very real body of “creative information” (for lack of a better term) that can only be accessed in real-world connections: conversations with experts, hands-on learning opportunities, etc. Learning by doing.  Apprenticeship.

Working on the Library as Incubator Project has proven, again and again, that Libraries are central to not just an information exchange (resource –> person), but an information life cycle— people learn, people use what they learn to make something new; that new thing sparks conversation and more learning and more making and more sharing.  Through the Incubator, I’ve seen proof that we can be the alpha and omega of that life cycle, and I bring that ideal to work every day.  That’s what I want my library to be.

Laura: I am the Assistant Director at a small public library in Evansville, Wisconsin, just outside of Madison. My position focuses on Programming and Outreach, mainly with families and youth. I do everything from facilitating early literacy programs to running after school activities to planning and hosting special community programs on weekends, inside and outside of the library.

From a practical standpoint, I am able to integrate LAIP work into my routine pretty easily – I am 80% in my position at the library, so I have one weekday off where I can focus on other things, and luckily, at this point, the LAIP has become a natural part of my weekly rhythm and routine.

Like Erinn, the LAIP has done a lot in terms of directing the way that I approach my job philosophically. It’s about making a space where people feel welcome to explore, learn something new, experiment, fail, try it again, share their work, help others. From another practical standpoint, the LAIP means that we hear about a lot of awesome new initiatives and program ideas. It’s like a smorgasboard of creative arts programming that I get to pick and choose from, depending on what will work best for my community.

Be sure to catch part two of our conversation here tomorrow!

LOC’s The Signal: All About Digital Art

In case you’re in the market for some light summer reading:

The Library of Congress has a great digital preservation blog called The Signal. Recently they’ve been focusing on plenty of art-related issues, from digital art (and the power of the GIF) to preserving artists’ websites and communities.

There’s even some meta content, in the form of an interview with someone who talks about libraries and archives as aesthetic experiences:

Shannon: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always loved teaching about, with, and through art. Art offers us so many rich and wonderful things (or events, or ideas…) to think with, and it helps us recognize that understanding isn’t purely cognitive; it’s also affective, aesthetic. Archives and libraries, I argue, are intensely aesthetic environments: information reaches us in various forms and materialities; we store that information on bookshelves and server racks; we access it on tabletops and laptops and through interfaces. These are all aesthetic variables that have, in my mind, huge epistemological significance. And acknowledging archives, libraries and databases as aesthetic entities not only helps patrons to better understand how they think and learn; but it also, ideally, helps practitioners recognize that the physical and digital environments they create aren’t neutral containers of information: they give shape to information and knowledge, and thus constitute what it is.

Shannon Mattern goes on to offer examples of artists working with the form of libraries and archives (not just their content). (Feel free to add this to your resource list for library advocacy, Ellen!)

You can always sign up to receive The Signal’s Digital Preservation newsletter in your inbox (if, like me, you forgot to regularly check even your favourite blogs). It’s a great resource to help you keep on top of digital developments, even if you’re not planning to focus on the tech side of GLAM work.

LOC's The Signal: All About Digital Art

In case you’re in the market for some light summer reading:

The Library of Congress has a great digital preservation blog called The Signal. Recently they’ve been focusing on plenty of art-related issues, from digital art (and the power of the GIF) to preserving artists’ websites and communities.

There’s even some meta content, in the form of an interview with someone who talks about libraries and archives as aesthetic experiences:

Shannon: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always loved teaching about, with, and through art. Art offers us so many rich and wonderful things (or events, or ideas…) to think with, and it helps us recognize that understanding isn’t purely cognitive; it’s also affective, aesthetic. Archives and libraries, I argue, are intensely aesthetic environments: information reaches us in various forms and materialities; we store that information on bookshelves and server racks; we access it on tabletops and laptops and through interfaces. These are all aesthetic variables that have, in my mind, huge epistemological significance. And acknowledging archives, libraries and databases as aesthetic entities not only helps patrons to better understand how they think and learn; but it also, ideally, helps practitioners recognize that the physical and digital environments they create aren’t neutral containers of information: they give shape to information and knowledge, and thus constitute what it is.

Shannon Mattern goes on to offer examples of artists working with the form of libraries and archives (not just their content). (Feel free to add this to your resource list for library advocacy, Ellen!)

You can always sign up to receive The Signal’s Digital Preservation newsletter in your inbox (if, like me, you forgot to regularly check even your favourite blogs). It’s a great resource to help you keep on top of digital developments, even if you’re not planning to focus on the tech side of GLAM work.

Educational Opportunities

Please note the first two items in bold are happening tomorrow!

Blended Librarian Webcast: Flipping the Classroom: Overturning the Traditional Lecture Thursday, May 10th @ noon (12pm) EDT

This is a free event & no registration is needed. There are a limited number of seats that are available on a first come first served basis. Please go to the BL site http://www.blendedlibrarian.org/ and log in to the “Quick Login” early to obtain your seat. It will be the webcast listed at the top of the webpage.

(Note: You need to be a member of the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community to participate. No fee to join. To join go to the following page http://www.blendedlibrarian.org/join.html prior to logging on to LearningTimes to join the webcast – you should do this at least 12 hrs prior to attending a webcast.)

METRO & ACRL/NY Present: Catablogging – Leveraging Blogging Software to Present Your Collections on the Web

METRO
57 East 11th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10003

Speaker Chela Weber

Chela Scott Weber is the Associate Head for Archival Collections at the Tamiment Library & Robert f. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU. Prior to coming to the Tamiment, she was the Director of Library & Archives at the Brooklyn Historical Society, where she implemented Emma, their WordPress based catablog of archives and special collections. She holds a Master of Library and Information Science and Certificate of Archival Administration from Wayne State University in beautiful Detroit, MI.

This event is co-sponsored/hosted with ACRL/NY Special Collections and Archives Discussion Group.

Visit the event website for more information and to register:

http://metro.org/events/178/

FINAL CALL FOR PAPERS — ARCHIVING THE ARTS

The AMIA Student Chapter at New York University invites presentation proposals for Archiving the Arts, to be held jointly with IMAP in New York City on Saturday, October 13, 2012 as part of New York Archives Week organized by Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York.

Please submit a 250-word proposal to Kathryn Gronsbell atNYU.AMIA@gmail.com Priority will be given to submissions received by Friday, May 4, 2012.

FINAL DEADLINE for submissions is Friday, July 13, 2012.

The 3rd annual ShareAcademy will be held on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 at the CPCC Harris campus in Charlotte, NC.  The theme for this year’s ShareAcademy is:

“Under New Management: Adventures in Leadership”

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Share with us your challenges, joys, reflections, techniques, skills and eye-opening moments about becoming a better, more efficient, more productive leader and manager.  What habits or tricks have you learned or utilized to manage yourself, your time or your staff?  How have you identified your strengths and skills and used them to your best advantage?
Workshop proposals are expected to be interactive, hands-on, and engaging for participants.

Call for proposals CLOSES: May 30
ShareAcademy Registration OPENS: June 4

*ShareAcademy is created and hosted by CPCC Library, but is open to anyone interested in the conference theme.  Our primary goal is to provide a conference full of practical, hands-on material for its attendees.*

Submit your proposal here!  http://www.cpcc.edu/library/shareacademy

ALCTS webinar: Rare Materials and RDA: Exploring the Issues

Date: May 23, 2012
All webinars are one hour in length and begin at 11am Pacific, noon Mountain, 1pm Central, and 2pm Eastern time.

Description: Are you unsure about how (or whether) to apply RDA to rare materials? This webinar will present an overview of RDA provisions related to rare materials, including both bibliographic and authority records, and will explore how well RDA and Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials
(DCRM) can be used together to describe rare materials. The webinar will reflect work sponsored by the ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section’s Bibliographic Standards Committee, including a white paper prepared by the presenters.

Single Webinar Registration Fees:  $39 ALCTS Member; $49 Non-member; $39 International; $99 Group (a group of people that will watch it together).
Check the ALCTS Web site for discount pricing for the entire webinar series.

For additional information and links to registration, please click here.

ALCTS webinars are recorded and registrants receive a link to the recording shortly following the live event.

For questions about registration, contact ALA Registration by calling
1-800-545-2433 and press 5 or email registration@ala.org. For all other questions or comments related to the webinars, contact Julie Reese, ALCTS Events Manager at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5034 or alctsce@ala.org.

See educational opportunities, such as CFP, workshops, events, webinars, etc.? Please email Braegan Abernethy (bcabernethy@gmail.com) or Emilee Mathews (mathewse@indiana.edu) to get them posted here.

Booklyn Artist Alliance


Video: Video of Kurt Allerslev and Eliana Prez’s Buckfast Splendor Book

I was first introduced to Booklyn when doing collection development work during a practicum at The Ohio State University’s Fine Arts Library.  They’re a really interesting collective where actual book artists will travel to libraries to discuss their work and the work of others within Booklyn.  It’s a great model because it directly links producer & buyer–instead of a impersonal transaction, the sale becomes a relationship.

First-time conference attendee blogger: Call for Volunteer(s)

Dear all,

Bryan and I have been contacted by the organizers of this year’s upcoming annual conference about having a first-time attendee blog their experiences to the official conference blog. While there will be others blogging about their conference experiences, they would especially like to include the perspective of a first-timer or two who can document the experience of attending their first national conference.

You could make as much or as little as you like of this, by blogging daily during the conference or just occasional deep thoughts. That said, your posts will reach a wide audience so this would be an excellent opportunity for individuals who are striving to meet others and become involved in the organization.

If you are interested, please leave a response below. I don’t have too much more info than what appears above, but if there are questions I’m also glad to try to answer.

Tracy

Introducing ArLiSNAP Discussion Opportunities & Coordinatoors

As a result of feedback, you’re going to see a few new additions to the ArLiSNAP blog and community.  One of the new features we’re rolling out is increased content on the site to help generate discussion about issues important to ArLiSNAP members.

Caley Cannon and Meredith Kahn are the current discussion coordinators, and we’ll be making weekly posts about a range of topics (emerging technologies, social networking sites, teaching, mentoring, transition from student to professional, changing role of art librarians, professional development, recent news in art and architecture, new developments in the publishing industry, etc.).

We hope you find these posts interesting and thought provoking, and that you feel compelled to participate in a discussion via the comments.  If there are any topics you’d like us to address, please let us know.

And let the fun begin…

Allison Arieff on William Stout Architectural Books in San Francisco

Here’s a lovely piece from Allison Arieff’s By Design blog at the New York Times.  It’s about that dying breed–the specialty bookstore:

“Shelf Life”

Great quote: “Stout is a collector in the best sense of the word. Though he joked that he began acquiring books when he realized he’d never have a 401k, it is probably more accurate to say that Stout is in complete thrall of the smell of ink, the feel of paper, the intellectual and physical heft of the literary object, the near-indiscernible sound of the turning of pages.”

After reading this, I don’t feel so bad about schlepping endless boxes of books across the country over the past few years.

RSS Feeds on ArLiSNAP

I was going to put our RSS feeds (widgets) back on the site. It seems it really was the platial mapkit that was causing loading problems.

But, since the wordpress.com dashboard redesign, our old links have disappeared!

What are your favorite RSS feeds for art and/or library news or related blogs that you’d like to see on this site??