cover image The Artist's Library: A Field Guide

The Artist's Library: A Field Guide

Laura Damon-Moore and Erinn Batykefer. Coffee House (Consortium, dist.), $23.95 (214p) ISBN 978-1-56689-353-4

Librarians Damon-Moore's and Batykefer's book is a call-to-action that re-envisions the local library and its place in the community. With "collaboration, creation, and community connection" as their core values, the authors advise artists and writers on the best ways to use the library through real life examples from around the world. They speak to many creative types about their experiences using libraries as a source of inspiration, including Jamie Powell Sheppard who photographs the historic Carnegie libraries and Chris Gaul, creator of multimedia pieces in which visitors to the University of Technology-Sydney's library can use hi-fi tuners and rotary phones to listen to books. The authors note the importance of libraries as community spaces for readings, exhibitions, and performances, like Brandon Monokian's "Page to Stage" program at New Jersey's Princeton Public Library. A variety of exercises are designed to prompt artist creativity such as choosing books based on color, flipping through an "unusual dictionary," or branching out into unexplored shelves as a means of intellectual discovery. For those working on more concrete research-oriented projects, the authors have tips on engaging with digital collections and asking reference librarians for assistance. They also offer advice on getting involved at the library, either recreationally or professionally, pointing out many resources available for small business owners. This is a fun and accessible guide, particularly for young readers who may not be aware of everything the library has to offer. (May)