Tomes/Consume This! Engaging Patron Expertise through Artists’ Books

Tomes/Consume This! Engaging Patron Expertise through Artists’ Books by Stephanie Beene and Suzanne Schadl

This article presents one way that librarians, archivists, and educators can create new knowledge by connecting communities with rare material culture. The authors share how they engaged critically reflective practices while gathering descriptions of rare Mexican artists’ books at community-engaged outreach events. The books took on new meanings once they were removed from the context of the archives, and were centered within diverse communities. Participants interacted with the books in places where culinary bites and libations overlapped with the themes presented within the books. Polysensory, transcultural, tactile, embodied, visual, and gustatory literacies were observed as well as bilingual narratives of food, drink, memories, and personal recipes. The authors learned that bringing unique archival objects to communities made them more accessible both in and out of the archives. This project speaks to larger issues facing academic libraries and archives, such as engaging diverse audiences in inclusive programming, and building outreach into existing services, spaces, and collections.