Our sweet new t-shirts, designed by Higbee | Barrows, printed at Screendoor Printing in Madison.

Our sweet new t-shirts, designed by Higbee | Barrows, printed at Screendoor Printing in Madison.

I have the great privilege of writing up the first “Year in Review” post for the first full year of the Library as Incubator Project! And what a year it was.

We published 336 posts last year, including 63 features on Artists (including visual artists, photographers, multimedia artists, and installation artists); 38 posts in our Writers category (including poets, fiction writers, and resources for writers); and 27 posts in our Performing Arts section (playwrights, performers, musicians, dancers, and more).

2012 saw some excellent collaborations, including guest blog series with artists like Sarah Hemm, Jennie Nuese, Brandon Monokian, and Melissa Kolstad; Andrea Reithmayr lends her expertise on historic book bindings; the outstanding Karen Jensen from Teen Librarian Toolbox, with whom we partnered for the Teen Read Week™ art contest; and the good folks at National Novel Writing Month, for whom we blogged about libraries-for-Wrimos.

We saw a virtual explosion (the good kind) about makerspaces in libraries, and saw the conversation on this topic really develop and expand in the on- and off-line worlds. Given the way this trend and its deeper implications are being discussed by librarians (and, very importantly, library users) around the USA and around the world, we see big things for libraries and makers continuing to develop in 2013.

Here are our thoughts and features on the topic of library makerspaces.

Parts of the event will be held in the recently cleared out Central Library basement. Photo: Trent Miller

BOOKLESS turned the empty Central Branch of the Madison Public Library into a community art space for one night in January 2012. Photo: Trent Miller

Some of our (and our readers’) favorite posts from this last year include:

  • BOOKLESS transformed the empty, gutted Madison Public Library’s Central Branch into a gallery-meets-dance club last January.
  • The full-blown TRW Art Contest gallery. Dozens of entries, lots of creativity, wonderful artwork. Count us in for another round of this contest next year.
  • Joseph Mills’ lovely poem “If Librarians Were Honest” struck a chord with librarians and devoted library users alike.
  • Andrew Beccone from the Reanimation Library got us thinking about the inextricable relationship between curation and art making.
  • The crew at Temporary Services revisited a major installation art project at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago.
  • The Big Draw proved (pardon the pun) to be a big draw for families and artists all over Chicago – including two lovely library tie-ins at the Newberry Library and Chicago Public Library.

We also tackled a major project during our Indiegogo campaign, where we learned (really quickly) the ins and outs of crowdfunding. A huge thank you again to our campaign team, our contributors, and our community members who spread the word and helped us raise enough funds to keep the Project alive and well into 2013. Sidenote: Want a sweet new Library as Incubator Project tee? Find out how to snag yours.

We’re amped and ready for a terrific new year. Want to help us get off the ground with awesome new stuff? Share our Submit page, where you’ll find all the details on how to submit your library-incubated artwork, incubating programs and interesting library collections and services. Can’t wait to connect with you this year. ~ Laura

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