Expired Library Books


We see many torn, shredded damaged books here at Central. Some fall apart on their own and others get damaged accidentally. Photographer, Kerry Mansfield, who claims not to be a a big reader, has photographed some of these discarded items that she buys from from other libraries. She may not be a big reader but she finds the molded and damaged book to be of interest enough to photograph it. Her photographs turn the abandoned book into an artifact complete with mold, mildew, tears, margin scribbles or broken bindings. The New York Times’ Lens Blog, has a slide show where you can view her photographs.

She started out photographing children’s books and books for teens, such as the well known Dr. Seuss book, “Hop on Pop,” and obscure ones like Evelyn Sibley Lampman’s “The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek.” She then turned her camera to books for adults like  Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” You see them on the Lens Blog.


Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here


In 2014 the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County will host an international book exhibit, “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.”, a project to memorialize much of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad on 5th March 2007.

The coalition handling the project, asked each Book Artist who joined the project to complete three books (or other paper material) over the course of a year, books that reflected both the strength and fragility of books, but also showed the endurance of the ideas within them. We asked for work that reflected both the targeted attack on this “street of the booksellers” as well as the ultimate futility of those who try to erase thought.

You can see some of the booksellers via the al-Mutanabbi Street Project in photos by Iraqi photographer Ghassan A. Malik.

Below you can see some images artist Scott McCarney did for the exhibit. When the exhibit arrives next year you will be able to see the book in real time.

Scott McCarney is an artist, designer, and educator based in Rochester, New York. He received formal design training at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond VA) in the 1970s, and earned an advanced degree in photography from the University at Buffalo/Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester NY) in the 1980s. His primary art practice has been in book form since 1980 and spans many media, from offset and digital editions to sculpture and site-specific installation. His books combine his academic background in photography and design with a love for the corporeality of craft and philosophic possibilities of sculpture. His works are widely distributed and can be found in the library collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and Yale University Arts of the Book collection, among others. His work is shown internationally (Sao Paulo, Brazil; Melbourne, Australia; Budapest, Hungary) as well as close to home (Hallwalls, Buffalo NY; Everson Museum, Syracuse NY; Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester NY). His teaching and lecturing itinerary is varied and eclectic, carrying the banner of artists books to Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Mexico, and South America. He currently teaches in the College of Imaging Arts and Science at Rochester Institute of Technology.





Rare Books: Large and Small


The Arts Division has a very good sized collection of rare books and folios. These rare items are reference and they must be used in the library.  Although these can’t be checked out it is worth the trip to see these items that you will not see in other Monroe County public libraries.

So while looking in our stacks I am come across some small handmade books. They are interesting little books that book artists will find interesting. One of them measures 2 1/4 inches across. The first one I found is called ABC Gem Box: A Display of skill in Typography. Is is by Kurt H. Volk and dated 1941. It was published in a limited edition of 500 copies.


This book is in a clam shell box and consists of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Each letter is done in a specific typographic font. Consists of 27 folded leaves (folded to 13 cm. X 17 cm.), one t.p. and one leaf for each letter of the alphabet, each with a cut-out on the first recto revealing the “gem” on the second recto. It’s simplicity itself—27 typographic arrangements, each printed on a folded page behind a cut-out window, all of them tucked into a small box. According to the Volk organization  ” it is the practice of the Volk organization unceasingly to direct its sense of form and fitness to making distinguished typography. Our aim is to discover and use the new type faces, embellishments and mechanical methods.”



The next book is called Sunday in Monterey. It is a  book of woodcuts by Antonio Fransconi, dated 1964. This is an accordion style book with folding panels, it measures 5½x2¼. The book is made up of 58 accordion-folded pages which open to 127 inches, revealing original color woodcut illustrations of the piers, boats and houses of Monterey.



Here is a sample of his other woodcuts from a different book.


Other works by this artist at MoMA and here.

The books above are examples of very small sized rare books.

The two listed below are from the Art’s division folio collection and are very over-sized.


This Frank Lloyd Wright book is a massive volume of plans and designs. It’s title is, Buildings, Plans and Designs. It measures 16 inches across and 25 inches high. Along with the plans there is a book about Wright and his work and describes each one of the 96 designs. Due to it massive size, I’m guessing this one is for Wright fans only.


The other folio I found is a stunning collection of Navaho drawings and symbols. It is called, Where the Two Came to Their Father: Navaho War Ceremonial. This one measures 18 .5 inches across and 24 inches high. This work takes its title from the richly symbolic creation legend of the Navaho people, which they incorporated into their blessing ceremony for tribe members headed to battle. Having observed this rite during World War II, when native Americans were for the first time drafted into the U.S. military, ethnologist Maud Oakes recorded the legend and made reproductions of the beautiful ceremonial paintings, given to her by the medicine man Jeff King.



Come in and take a look at these rare items in the Arts Division.


Caution! Artist @ Work! 2013-14 Season Line-up

It’s back! The Arts Division of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County will feature a different artist once a month with its Caution! Artists at Work! 2013-2014 program series. We will host a different local artist or musician who will be working on a piece right in the Arts Division. Patrons are welcome to stop by and observe an artist painting or listen to a musician playing. These programs happen on the third Saturday of each month from 1-3 PM in the afternoon on the second floor of the Bausch & Lomb Library building. We look forward to seeing there!

We hope you will stop by and see our local talent at work! Call 428-8140 for more details.

Woodcut artist Heather Swenson demonstrates her technique for Rochester Public Library patrons. Photo credit: Judith Schewe. Caution! Artist @ Work! was also featured on the Library As Incubator Blog!

Here is this year’s line-up…

September 21Alicia Fink, precious metal clay jewelry artist. Metal Clay (PMC) is a product from Japan.  It consists of microscopic particles of silver or gold suspended in an organic binder to create a pliable material with a consistency similar to modeling clay.  Alicia has been certified by the Precious Metal Clay Guild and by PMC Connection and has taken workshops under Celie Fago, an outstanding Senior Teacher for the PMC Guild.  She teaches PMC jewelry making in the area Continuing Education Programs, at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery and at her studio.

October 19 –  Paula Marra, felted animals and creatures. Paula, of Queen Mab Fairy Houses fame, returns to the Central Library this fall to demonstrate the wildly popular craft of felting.

November 16Sandra Kemp, gourd artist. Sandra Kemp’s beautiful gourds have been displayed in the Eileen Reidman Display Cases in the Art’s Division. She will demonstrate her unique gourd artistry this fall.

December 21Karen Barber and Linda Taggart, hammered dulcimers. Karen and Linda are members of Striking Strings Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble directed by Mitzie Collins.

January 18 – Mary Housel-Demanchik, painter and book artist. Mary is an Art teacher at Rush-Henrietta Middle School and Adjunct Professor at Nazareth College. Mary’s artist’s books have been featured in the Central Library’s 2011 and 2012 Art of the Book exhibits.

February 15Randy Pollok, Rochester Ukulele Support Group. The Rochester Ukulele Support Group (RUSG) meets on the first Thursday of every month. They learn tunes, new techniques and share info about the world of ukulele. Randy and friends will be on hand for ukulele fun!

March 15Mia Sohn, decorative Ukrainian eggs. This art form is based on a 5,000 year-old tradition. It is a wax resist process on actual eggshells. This art form is known as ‘pysanka,’ which is a Ukrainian word meaning ‘to write.’

April 19 – Kathleen Barry-Wagner, landscape painter. Barry-Wagner is a Rochester area artist associated with the Outside the Box Art gallery and part-time art teacher who will be doing a demo of how to paint a landscape. She will be available to talk about use of color and  perspective and looks forward to answering any questions you may have about painting in general.

May 17Nancy Valle, ceramist. Ms. Valle’s work has been featured at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. Her ceramic studio is located on the top floor of a former shoe factory that flourished in the early days of Rochester. Nancy also offers clay workshops in her Rochester studio.

Tom Ford Magnificent


Tom Ford an American fashion designer, filmmaker, perfumer, etc. Ford brings a hard-edged style synonymous with 21st century glamour to his clothes. He is a fashion icon and anything he touches makes lots of money for the fashion houses he manages. We just received a massive book on the history of his collections that highlights the best of Tom Ford’s years at Gucci and YSL.

Ford transformed Gucci from a dull seen its day accessories house into a powerhouse of fashion. In 1994 he took the dying fashion house and introduced velvet hip hip-huggers paired with skinny bright satin shirts. The images of model Amber Valletta and Madonna wearing these suggestive pieces are iconic to Ford’s collection.


In 1995, Ford, stylist French stylist Carine Roitfeld and photographer Mario Testino created an ad campaign that increased Gucci’s sales 90%. Tom Ford brought the almost bankrupt Gucci to be valued at $10 billion when he left in 1999. He went on to be  Creative Director for YSL, created YSL fragrances like Opium with the usual sexualized ad, and his own White and Black Orchid scents.



This book is a complete catalog of Ford’s design work for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent from 1994 to 2004 and was created with cooperation with Ford. It is Ford’s testament to a career full of reinventing the boundaries of style and sensuality in clothing.

Click below  for the book.