I recently made the acquaintance of a very nice woman named Rebecca who works for this organization. I have long wanted to learn what Booklyn was about. After voicing my interest via email she was more than happy to indulge my curiosity by taking me on a little tour. My conclusion: this place is pretty damned neat. Follows are some highlights.
Booklyn is an artist-run non-profit organization. Established in 1999, it facilities are open to the public Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The first Tuesday of each month is dedicated to “Open Salon Night”. At these events they feature artist’s books from their rather extensive and quirky collection (like this frightfully clever pop-up book entitled The Slapdown). In addition you, the public, are encouraged to bring in your own artists books to share with fellow Booklyn goers.
Following Tuesdays are dedicated to workshops where you can get hands on experience with the various aspects of bookmaking. Those engaged in their own bookmaking projects can also use their guillotine (above at left) and their bookbinding equipment free of charge.
Among Booklyn’s numerous projects (which include not only bookmaking, but also letter press and printmaking) is the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) People’s Republic of Paper. Partnering with former servicemen (and presumably, women) uniforms are shredded into pulp which in turn is turned into paper. Onto this paper each troop’s portrait is then screen printed. One of these portraits can be seen above to the far left.
They also have a number of really cool books for sale. Scream at the Librarian (above) was by far my favorite:
An instant cult classic, Scream at the Librarian sucks you into the flop house grime of downtown Los Angeles at a time when it was abandoned by all but the terminally desperate. The Screamer, Mr. Brain Damage, The Devil . . . these are just a few of the unforgettable characters that people Raneâ€™s real-life accounts from deep within the stacks of a library which had become a refuge for squatters, drug addicts, and the mentally deranged.
Be advised that you need not be a librarian to appreciate this book. Anyone who has the pleasure of working with the general public will be able to relate. I for one found “The Racist” and “Tourette’s Syndrome” of particular interest. I had honestly not given the matter any thought, but I now understand that a chap with Tourette’s Syndrome may very well be a librarian’s worst nightmare. Why not swing by Booklyn tonight, purchase a copy and read for yourself?
37 Greenpoint Avenue, Floor 4
Brooklyn, New York 11222
staff (at) booklyn (dot) org
Oh yeah, they also have nifty t-shirts for sale.