The Artist's Library

A field guide by Laura Damon-Moore and Erinn Batykefer

May 13, 2014 • 5 x 7 • 212 pages • 978-1-56689-353-4

A guide to libraries as creative spaces including exercises, best practices, and examples for artists, librarians, and community members.

Creativity, like information, is free to everyone who steps into a library. An offshoot of the Library as Incubator Project, The Artist’s Library offers that an artist is any person who uses creative tools to make new things, and provides the guidance and resources to make libraries come alive as spaces for art-making and cultural engagement. The book draws attention to the physical and digital collections and resources that may be of particular use to artists and writers, provides ideas for art education opportunities within libraries, and offers practical how-tos for artists and libraries alike. From the crafty (pop-up books) to the community-minded (library galleries); the documentary (photo projects) to the technically complex (“listening” to libraries via Dewey decimal frequencies), the case studies included in the book feature artists, writers, performers, and libraries that embody the “library as incubator” spirit.

About the Author

Laura Damon-Moore is a librarian, blogger, and avid art-maker in her spare time. Laura received her master’s degree in Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012 and graduated from Beloit College with a double major in Literary Studies and Theatre Arts (Acting) in 2008. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband James and her chinchilla Barnaby Jones.

Erinn Batykefer is a librarian, a writer, and a lifelong do-it-yourselfer. She’s worked in libraries almost constantly since she was fifteen—both as a staffer and as a writer scribbling away at the back of the 811s. She earned an MFA in Writing and a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her first poetry collection, Allegheny, Monongahela (Red Hen Press 2009) won the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Prize.


“Wisconsin authors and librarians Laura Damon-Moore and Erinn Batykefer have a broader vision for what a library can be. . . . The Artist’s Library is designed to give readers an overview of the landscape they’ll be exploring and share specific examples of how artists have used libraries in their work.” Capitol Times

“Librarians Damon-Moore and Batykefer (cofounders, with Christina ­Endres, Librarian as Incubator Project [LaIP]) have succeeded in producing a guide that benefits artists, librarians, and all creative learners. Libraries and the people who work in and visit them can be an immense resource for building and inspiring creativity, no matter the media in which one works.” Library Journal

“This quirky and imaginative book celebrates individuals’ potential for creativity and libraries as vital and vibrant community resources.” Kirkus

The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide is the best kind of self-help book—the library providing intellectual and artistic growth on a personal level.” NewPages

“This is a fun and accessible guide, particularly for young readers who may not be aware of everything the library has to offer.” Publishers Weekly

“In an overstimulated age, when inspired contemplative space can be challenging to secure—whether you live in a culturally rich city or a more remote locale—it can be easy to forget that libraries even exist, that there’s a place full of literature, art, reliable resources, and unimpeded quiet available for free—often just a walk or short drive away. But Batykefer and her cohort, along with their creative contributors, are predicting an expansion of the idea of what a library is and does.” Poets & Writers

“Like the generosity of the library itself, this little book is an inventive and highly accessible source book, sure to inspire new forms of art, engagement and learning.” Journal Sentinel

The Artist’s Library is brought to us by the inspired folks at The Library as Incubator Project and . . . is a celebration of artists and their use of the library as a space, as a resource, and as a creative font.” —MPL Mad Reads

“[The Artist’s Library] details unexpected (and easy) ways to use library resources to boost your creativity, whether you’re a professional artist, writer, or performer—or simply have an itch to create something cool.” Book Riot

“In [The Artist’s Library], Laura and Erinn share some artistic projects that prove today’s library isn’t the shushing environment you may remember from first grade. . . . Maybe that’s not quite how you’ve always thought of libraries, but that’s exactly what the Incubator Project hopes to change.” Midwest Living

“While people are wondering about the future of libraries, this fabulous guide shows how the institution is an active, essential center of art and public life, how the creative community is engaging with it, and how we can, too. Required reading for anyone interested in art, books, society, creativity, and information. Namely, everyone.” —Wendy MacNaughton

The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide is an immeasurable delight in its entirety.” Brain Pickings