Artists’ Books DC is a research tool that points you to different collections of artists’ books in the Washington DC area. You’ll find descriptions and maps of the collections, as well as explanations of how to search for books and how to do your research.

What are artists’ books?

Artists’ books are unconventional books, works of art in book form. They may have unusual bindings, vibrant typography, colorful images, fine printing techniques, digital interventions, and/or sculptural elements. They play with the conventions of the book and expectations of reading. Artists’ books are fun, surprising, and exhilarating.

Why map collections of artists’ books?

Though some of these collections are well-known, others are smaller or newer. Artists’ book collections may be hidden or difficult to find in the catalog, which can make research, exploration, and collaboration difficult. Knowing which collections are in the area is a great place for you to start your research. Artists’ Books DC also explains how to find the books you’ve been looking for, how to get to the repositories, and what to expect as a researcher.

Who should research artists’ books?

Artists’ books include a range of forms, subjects, and experimentation. There’s something for everyone. Artists’ Books DC is particularly designed for students, researchers, librarians, and artists – but anyone can use this resource.

The project

My experiences doing research with artists’ books have taught me that book art collections are often hidden, and that searching catalogs for artists’ books can be frustrating. Artists’ Books DC is a reference tool for researchers, artists, students and librarians in the DC area that solves these problems. Here you’ll find a list of repositories in the area that have collections of artists’ books, an interactive map interface, images from the institutions, and information about the collection development and access policies of each library. Artists’ Books DC explains how to use the catalog to find artists’ books and how to visit the collections to perform research. Artists’ Books DC promotes book art collections and facilitates research.

Washington DC has some fantastic, large collections of artists’ books, as well as some surprising small collections. DC also has a supportive community of artists and librarians who are excited to share, teach, and create. The wood type in the Artists’ Books DC logo comes from DC’s Eastern Market.  The logo photo and design are by Michelle Strizever.

This project was created by Michelle Strizever and is supported by a grant from the College Book Art Association.

Contact me at mstrizever[at]gmail[dot]com.