Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:
Makerspaces provide library users with access to new innovative technologies
that are hard for most people to be able to access. Libraries want “to make it
easier for you to make stuff” (Roe, 2019). Considering the mandate of the Bruce
Peel Special Collections library full or rare and artists’ books to preserve
and conserve rare books for researchers to access (Bruce Peel Special Collections,
n.d.), the preservation of how these books were made needs also to be considered.
How can a Special Collections library fulfill the needs not just of scholars
and researchers, but also those of book arts practitioners? What kinds of
technology is hard for users to access? What would an appropriate Makerspace
I propose that a Special Collections Makerspace should be a book
printing workshop, with printing presses and book bindery machinery available
for the book arts community to be able to use and to continue teach the
traditions of book binding. “Makerspaces provide an opportunity for play” (Lotts,
2017, p. 350). Play is an important method for exploring ideas for artists of
all levels. This machinery, while not necessarily the height of new technology,
still is quite hard for most people to access. Presses are large, heavy
mechanical machines that require a fair amount of work space and technical
knowledge to operate.
“New technologies will not save your library” (Stephens, 2012, para. 4)
and in this case, we have a rich history of available technology to choose
from. The University of Alberta already has available equipment. There are several
printing presses on permanent display in the atrium of Rutherford Library as
well as a Printmaking department that could support a book arts workshop and bindery.
Description of Community you wish to engage:
I wish to engage the existing book arts community, researchers, students
and aspiring practitioners with this book arts makerspace.
Action Brief Statement:
Convince Book Artists that by using the book
arts workshop they will contribute to their own art practice integrated with
book arts history and traditions which will enrich understanding and research
of book arts practice because the creation process will be demystified and kept
Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:
K. (2016). Sustaining a makerspace. Teacher
Librarian 43(3), 39-41. Retrieved from https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/117499/tl-sustaining-makerspace.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Kurti, D., & Fleming, L. (2014). The Environment and Tools of Great
Educational Makerspaces. Teacher
Librarian, 42(1), 8–12. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=98973011&site=ehost-live&scope=site
N. (2016, November 16). Inside an independent book restorer’s studio | Conservation
lab. Vice. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wnpvdq/inside-an-independent-book-restorers-studio
Letterpress Commons (n.d.-a). Acquiring a
press. Retrieved from https://letterpresscommons.com/acquiring-a-press/
Commons (n.d.-b). Installing a press.
Retrieved from https://letterpresscommons.com/installing-a-press/
Megan. (2017). Low-Cost High-Impact Makerspaces at the Rutgers University Art
Library. Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North
America 36(2), 345-362. Doi: 10.7282/T3Q81H39 Retrieved from https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/54564/PDF/1/play/
(Producer). (2017, May 22). The Art and business of bookbinding with Lisa Van
Pelt. The Creative Penn Podcast #322
[Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/05/22/bookbinding/
Slatter, D. & Howard, Z. (2013). A place to make, hack, and learn: Makerspaces
in Australian public libraries. The
Australian Library Journal, 62(4), 272-284, DOI:
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:
Policies would be set by library administration
and could be adapted from those of existing makerspaces and Fine Arts studios
on the University campus. I see this makerspace as being an opportunity to
include the University’s Fine Arts department more directly with library spaces.
Staff and Faculty from the Fine Arts Department could work in conjunction with
Library Administration to solidify and define the Mission, Guidelines and Policies
pertaining to this new Makerspace.
Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:
Though the technology that I’m proposing isn’t part of the bleeding edge,
putting together a book printing and bindery takes a number of dedicated equipment
that requires space and money to move, set up and maintain. Space would have to
be found and likely renovated to provide a suitable home for a dedicated
makerspace. Having a dedicated studio printing and bindery technician would be
necessary as well as having staff available for workshops. A publishing company
could be formed, and grant funding would be possible through organizations such
as the Canada Council for the Arts.
Supplemental funding through University donations could be another avenue for supplementary
Action Steps & Timeline:
This is a large project and would require approval by the library
director as well as the University administration before moving forward. As a
large project, a considerable amount of planning would be required and likely
some renovation of the chosen designated studio workshop space. It would be
possible to start off the makerspace as a prototype in collaboration with the
Printmaking department to start working with book artists and students to run
book making workshops using existing campus spaces and technology. These kinds
of workshops and events could also be used as a way to promote the future makerspace
If approved, I think starting prototype workshops could be developed and
begin in January of 2020 and progress through the development and opening of
the new dedicated makerspace. Evaluation of suitable spaces, sourcing necessary
press, bindery equipment and tools, and planning of the space could take place
in 2-3 months (until February 2020). That leaves 6 months to renovate and build
the makerspace in time to open for the Fall 2020 semester.
Timeline for Fall 2020 Opening of the Book
Program approval by Administration: 8-10 weeks
Evaluation of possible locations: 2-3 weeks
Sourcing necessary equipment: 3-4 weeks
Hiring Makerspace staff: 4 weeks
Planning, designing makerspace Studio: 2 months
Renovate/Build space: 6 months
Move in equipment and materials: 2 weeks
Some of these tasks can be done concurrently such as the hiring process
for the technician alongside evaluating and planning the design of the space.
Staffing Considerations for this Technology
As this is a large project it would require
dedicated staff in the form of a studio printing and binding technician as well
as a librarian focused on developing workshops and to assist training other staff
within the department. Existing staff could be trained to support Makerspace
activities create lists of Special Collections materials to support and inspire
book artist creativity.
Creating a Book Artist residency program and Student Internship
positions could help supplement the work of Makerspace staff. The residency
could include part time support of programs and workshops related to the artist’s
portfolio. Student interns with knowledge in printmaking and book binding
techniques could additional support and learn as apprentices with the Book
Artist resident and Makerspace staff.
Training for this Technology or Service:
The success of this Makerspace program would require experienced staff
support. Though this is a new initiative, having a studio technician that is experienced
with printmaking and book binding techniques would be essential. It would be helpful
for the Makerspace Librarian to be experienced in working with Fine Arts
initiatives as well as developing Makerspace programs and workshops.
These experienced staff could work together to help guide and train
existing library staff to be able to support possible research inquiries by
Makerspace users. Once a residency and student internship programs are
established, it would be possible for exchange of information between interns,
resident, Makerspace and library staff. Student interns would benefit from
overlapping by a month or so to be able to train their replacements.
Supplemental training would be possible from the Makerspace Technician.
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology
As mentioned previously, through prototype programs using existing Printmaking
spaces would allow for the University’s Fine Arts community to become familiar
with the upcoming Makerspace and future book making related programming. The
University’s Fine Arts Department has existing exhibition spaces and tradition
of hosting guest lectures and Bruce Peel Special Collections also has dedicated
exhibits that they hold on a regular basis. It would be possible to hold
collaborative exhibits and guest lectures to support and promote the work of
the Makerspace within the campus community.
Hosting resident book artists would promote the program within the book
artist community as well as creating a supportive program for the production of
books. Such a program would likely become a popular role for book artists to
participate in and through word of mouth would become promoted through the small
press book community.
The University could further promote the program through Alumni and
Donor newsletters and publications featuring profiles of resident artists, student
interns, upcoming workshops, guest lectures and exhibits.
Having a dedicated Makerspace would also require a web presence where
upcoming events and workshops would be promoted and archived for future
reference. Digital collections of produced books could be showcased online and
become a part of the library’s collection.
(What benchmarks and performance metrics will you use to evaluate the
technology or service. What stories are you envisioning telling about it?
How might you expand the service in the future?)
Measuring the success of the Makerspace would involve analyzing how the
space gets used, demand for use of the space and attendance of workshops,
lectures and programs. Keeping a digital record of residents, student interns
and the body of work produced in the space would serve as future promotional and
research materials for other library users and a resource for the book arts
These stories could be further highlighted and featured on social media
posts by the library. It would be great to feature “behind the scenes” glances
of a working book artist’s practice through media such as Instagram, Twitter,
YouTube and Facebook.
A successful Book Arts Makerspace program could provide a model for
other Makerspaces to integrate and support other creative communities even
within the University of Alberta community. It would be useful for the University
of Alberta’s MLIS students to have access to an alternative model of a
Makerspace and could provide future internship opportunities to support the
role of the Makerspace Librarian along with those of the Bruce Peel Special
Peel Special Collections (n.d.). About
Bruce Peel Special Collections. Retrieved from https://bpsc.library.ualberta.ca/info/about
(2017). Low-cost high-impact makerspaces at the Rutgers University Art Library.
Art Documentation: Journal of the Art
Libraries Society of North
345-362. Retrieved from https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/54564/PDF/1/play/
(2019, June 14). LA public library’s new maker space/studio lets you 3D print,
shoot on a green screen, and way more [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://laist.com/2019/06/14/la_public_librarys_new_maker_spacestudio_lets_you_3d_print_shoot_on_a_green_screen_and_way_more.php?sfns=xmo
M. (2012, May 30). Taming technolust: Ten steps for planning in a 2.0 world. Tame The Web. Retrieved from https://tametheweb.com/2012/05/30/taming-technolust-ten-steps-for-planning-in-a-2-0-world-full-text/