by Laura Damon-Moore

We have a very, very cool program to highlight today that is straight from our good friends (and the publisher of our upcoming book, The Artist’s Library) at Coffee House Press. Several months ago, staff at Coffee House, in partnership with individuals and organizations in the Twin Cities, started a program called CHP in the Stacks.

Here’s the program rundown:

As part of its continuing effort to put books into action, Coffee House Press has launched an initiative to place writers and readers in residencies at various area institutional and community libraries.

Objective: The Writers and Readers Library Residency program places authors in artistic residencies in different kinds of distinguished libraries and collections. With this program, Coffee House Press aims to create a body of work that will inspire a broader public to engage with their local libraries in a new and meaningful way, and to encourage artists and the general public to think about libraries as creative spaces. 

Read more in the About section of the CHP in the Stacks website.

Illustration by artist Eric Hanson, who is artist-in-residence at Minneapolis Institute of Arts' Research and Reference Library for part of summer 2014.

Illustration by artist Eric Hanson, who is artist-in-residence at Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ Research and Reference Library for part of summer 2014.

The residents in the CHP in the Stacks program are writers and art-makers. Their residencies take them to a variety of libraries ranging from the American Swedish Institute to the American Craft Council Library to branches of Hennepin County Library.

Read about the CHP in the Stacks residents and the library spaces.

So what are the residents doing during their time in the libraries? Here are a few examples:

Award-winning poet Ed Bok Lee spent the month of January in residence at the American Swedish Institute’s Wallenberg Library and Archives, researching daily journals and poetry entries from often overlooked and lesser-known Swedish immigrants. Bok Lee used these entries, written in Swedish, as inspiration for new creative works, drawing mainly on their form and typographic appearance.

Greg Hewett, a longtime professor of English at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, is the writer-in-residence at the Quatrefoil Library. He will spend his residency researching Quatrefoil’s collection of GLBT-related materials, including contemporary and historical books, periodicals, film, and audio recordings.

To follow the CHP in the Stacks residencies, visit

Jay Peterson is the program manager for CHP in the Stacks. If you are interested in getting involved in the program as a writer, artist, or library residency site, contact him at

It is incredibly thrilling that Coffee House Press credits our project as one of the sources of inspiration for the CHP in the Stacks program. CHP in the Stacks represents the thoughtful collaboration and active partnership between artists, writers, and libraries that we love to highlight and support, and we hope that you enjoy following the program as it continues to grow.

Special thanks to Jay Peterson for sending the text and visual materials for this feature.

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