Monday, April 21, 2014

My review of Bibliocraft - by Jessica Pigza (also known as @handmadelibrary)

BiblioCraft: The Modern Crafter's Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative ProjectsBiblioCraft: The Modern Crafter's Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects by Jessica Pigza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful book. This is a book for makers/crafters and library workers. Reading this book brought me lots of joy - I found I was smiling to myself as I read it. It is written by a rare book librarian, and based on five years of crafternoons (a new term for me) at New York Public Library.

This book connects library collections and resources, including skilled librarians, with makers (in this book called crafters, but really they are they same, or at least very very similar). This is the bit that is most exciting as it is bringing library collections, skilled library staff and clients together. It is a book for reference librarians, including local studies librarians, to think about closely as it is a way to help flaunt any library collection to your community, and to connect clients to online resources from all around the world. I have been talking about this for a while, but it was lovely to read about it, as it is a crucial area for libraries to explore in the current maker developments.

There is a section called "finding inspiration at your library" which takes the reader through the different strengths of public libraries and research libraries in an enjoyable and easily readable way. There is a guide to finding libraries, and some helpful hints about planning a library visit (with some key questions to help crafters/makers). The author also has a useful section on finding your way around a library with a quick overview of searching, including an explanation of subject headings (with examples). Digial/online collections are also included (sadly Trove is not) helping people to discover a broader range of inspiration for what they are making. Specialised collections are highlighted (mainly in the USA). Copyright is addressed well, in a very practical way. While i have taken time to describe this section of the book, it takes up a modest number of pages, with most of the book focusing on projects inspired by library collections.

For many of the chapters well known makers/crafters were invited to contribute projects. The author provided research assistance based on their interests (sounds a lot like reference work to me). There are description of the creative process for each project, followed by an information session about particular sources like decorative bookbindings, illuminated manuscripts, and botanical pursuits.

This would be an excellent book for library collections, but also one for library staff to read (it is a quick read) and plan plan programming for - working out ways to highlight their library collection, and connection their clients to online sources of interest.

I have written this review from a library perspective, but it also works well for library clients, giving them the tools to engage with a wide range of libraries, for the best outcomes for themselves.

After reading this book I dug out three knitting project from many years ago. Two jumpers and a vest. The vest was based on botanical illustration, one jumper on the Book of Kells and the other on Mayan writing. All of the materials for these were sourced from the public library I was working in at the time.

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