Library as Incubator Project

More on a project first mentioned in a January LISNews story.

From Poets & Writers Magazine, an article by Melissa Faliveno. Last winter in Madison, WI as political protests in the state capital were escalating, three graduate students were thinking not only about collective-bargaining rights, but also about libraries, the arts, and the future of both. Erinn Batykefer, Laura Damon-Moore, and Christina Endres, first-year students in the LIS program at the University of Wisconsin, started talking about the ways in which writers and other artists use libraries as creative spaces, how libraries can help foster their work, and how both parties might work together to support and sustain each other. The students’ answer is the Library as Incubator Project, a website for writers, artists, and librarians to share their creations and ideas in one collaborative space.

During class one day, the aspiring librarians listened as their professor discussed the importance of creative outreach for library programs, particularly at a precarious time for arts funding. Damon-Moore and Endres wanted to figure out a way to help connect libraries with visual and performing artists. Batykefer, having just finished her MFA in poetry, wanted to do the same for writers. Meanwhile, just down the street at the capitol, the challenge was mounting for these sorts of ambitions, as massive budget cuts squelched resources for the arts: The Wisconsin Arts Board was gutted, school arts programs were cut, and funding for the state’s poet laureate program was eliminated. Suddenly the trio’s endeavor seemed much more urgent.

“We’d been excited about the project and believed in it,” says Batykefer, who has worked in libraries since she was fifteen, “but it moved from being a cool idea to a necessary one.”

Want to follow them on twitter? @IArtLibraries

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