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April WARM Coffee @ American Craft Council

Ten WARM members gathered on Saturday, April 2nd to tour the library of the American Craft Council headquartered in Minneapolis. In August 2010, the Council moved their offices from Manhattan to 8,000 square feet of space in the Grain Belt Brewery building in northeast Minneapolis. What a rich fortune of resources for craft artists who live or work in the Twin Cities! The Council librarian Jessica Shaykett gave us a tour and told us about library resources. The library’s collection is non-circulating and reproduction services are available at a nominal fee.

What areas fall under the definition of craft? It includes book arts, business of craft, clay, craft organizations, education, exhibitions and shows, fiber, funding, galleries, glass, leather, mixed media, and wood.

The library maintains a comprehensive collection of print and visual materials on American craft with an emphasis on the period since 1940. The collection contains over 6,400 books, 7,000 exhibition catalogs, 700 bound volumes of leading periodicals, a substantial collection of artist files, videos and other visual materials. The library is also the repository  of the American Craft Council archives (1941-present), including those of the American Craft Museum (1956-1990) and archives from the library collection of the World Craft Council (1964-1980).

The library maintains a database and active files on craft artists who are ACC Gold Medal recipients, members of its College of Fellows, artists featured in Craft Horizons and/or American Craft magazine and selected others. Artists’ files include, résumé and biographical information; slides and photographs; exhibition flyers and catalogs; and clippings and other ephemera.

Jessica is the full-time librarian and is available to assist both members and the general public with reference queries, either in person or by mail, e-mail, telephone, or fax. You can also search the library catalog online at the Council’s website www.craftcouncil.org. The facilities include a public computer/scanner/printer/copier workstation, free wi-fi, slide and video viewing tools, and a spacious, comfortable research space. Jessica said the Council is currently working on getting most of their collection into a digital format, which will make online research all the more convenient.

Part of the enjoyment of this WARM Coffee event was having members find their own work in books in the library. Mimi Holmes found some entries in books, including this photo of one of her quilts., while Susan Huhn-Bowles found a sample of her work in a craft book. Jessica said that the Council is also beginning a summer salon series at the end of May and they are currently looking for local craft artists who would like to present. If you are interested in participating, you can contact Jessica Shaykett at 612.206.3118 or via email at jshaykett at craftcouncil dot com.

Jessica said she would like to see people use the resources available at the library as inspiration for ideas for their own projects.  Jessica also gave us complimentary copies of American Craft magazine; a top-notch publication with rich photographs of craft art,  informative articles and, as it states on the American Craft webpage,  “[t]he magazine celebrates the age-old human impulse to make things by hand, in order to communicate, learn, heal, and connect.” I think that’s a concept WARM members could get on board with! Take a moment to check out the magazine at thislink.

Public research hours at the library are Monday through Friday, 10a.m. to 5 p.m. They also offer library tours for classes and groups, just call 612.206.3100 in order to schedule a time. The offices are located in the Grain Belt Brewery building at 1224 Marshall Street N.E., Suite 200 with free parking across the street on the corner of 13th Street and Marshall St. N.E.

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