Libraries are full of resources that can show us other ways of being, living, making, doing. They are essential to our practice as impractical laborers. Please enjoy browsing the virtual stacks of the ILSSA Reference Library, an evolving index of readings & resources contributed by ILSSA members.

The ILSSA Reference Library, chronicled below, includes acquisitions from: 2018 Group Residency   ILSSA Influences at VSW   2017 Group Residency   ILSSA Working Group Temporary Library   ILSSA Reference Collection


Submissions from the 3rd Annual ILSSA Group Residency

In advance of each ILSSA Group Residency, participants are invited to share some of their favorite resources with the group. What tools do they find essential for living, working, making, being?

Animation Resources’ Instagram
An incredibly inspiring and useful gallery of early animations that play at real-time speed and then frame-by-frame to facilitate study.
Local 617 Shop MJ Mari Jaye Blanchard

The Art of Recklessness, Dean Young
I LOVE this book (the subtitle of which is "Poetry and Assertive Force and Contradiction") and am essentially ALWAYS reading it. It is kind of like an artist's statement on steroids. Young writes "Poetry is not a discipline. It is a hunger, a revolt, a drive, a mash note, a fright, a tantrum, a grief, a hoax, a debacle, an application, an affect . . ." This little book just feeds me in a way that I can't really explain, but I think it is one that any "maker" should read.
Local 585 Shop DWYjr David Yockel Jr

Coming Out About Money, Felice Yeskel
I was reminded this spring of this essay thinking about money and class in the context of activism—relevant also for collective artistic work, I reckon. It's from 1992, so some of the ideas may feel a little more central or obvious now than they did then. I continue to find it really helpful. There are two sidebars of note, one called Class Background Indicators, and one a cheat sheet on class background. The PDF is thanks to Bread Uprising, a cooperative bakery a while back in Durham, NC.
Local 919 Shop AB Anna Lena Phillips Bell

A Concordance of the Sacred Harp tune book
Current practice shared with other members at the Group Residency.
Local 413 Shop TG Tristan Gordon & Local Shop Stina Soderling

Draw it with your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment
Local 603 Shop ES Erin Sweeney

Haystack, Stuart Kestenbaum
[His] poems [are gifts]. I also often read from this collection of essays, where he writes about craft and making, and he can be heard reading favorite poems here.
Local 603 Shop ES Erin Sweeney

New Yorker’s Cartoon page
Where artists (particularly Edward Steed currently) beautifully illustrate the absurdity of the modern world and remind me to find humor as we do our best to navigate it.
Local 617 Shop MJ Mari Jaye Blanchard

"Poem," Charles Simic
I actually have a handwritten, signed copy of this hanging above the dresser in my bedroom. I read it EVERY day.
Every morning I forget how it is.
I watch the smoke mount
In great strides above the city.
I belong to no one.

Then, I remember my shoes.
How I have to put them on,
How bending over to tie them up
I will look into the earth.

Local 585 Shop DWYjr David Yockel Jr

The Problem with Work, Kathi Weeks
This residency interested me partly because the call invoked Kathi Weeks & this text; here's the PDF.
Local 347 Shop SS Stina Soderling

Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989
And below I'll paste in part of a letter from Audre Lorde to Pat Parker, with Lorde's advice on returning to a writing practice, that I have loved recently. From a letter from Audre Lorde to Pat Parker, December 6, 1985:
Things you must beware of right now—
A year seems like a lot of time now at this end—it isn’t. It took me three years to reclaim my full flow. Don’t lose your sense of urgency on the one hand, on the other, don’t be too hard on yourself—or expect too much.
Beware the terror of not producing.
Beware the urge to justify your decision.
Watch out for the kitchen sink and the plumbing and that painting that always needed being done. But remember the body needs to create too.
Beware feeling you’re not good enough to deserve it
Beware feeling you’re too good to need it
Beware all that hatred you’ve stored up inside you, and the locks on your tender places.

Local 919 Shop AB Anna Lena Phillips Bell

Sonic Meditations, Pauline Oliveros
Listening & sounding practices.
Local 413 Shop TG Tristan Gordon

The Sun
For me, at this time, every issue is a gift.
Local 603 Shop ES Erin Sweeney

Syllabus, Lynda Barry
Local 603 Shop ES Erin Sweeney

Caroline Woolard
Here is something that's brand new to me: her work and her shared teaching tools, such as this and this, and just the context they exist in for me / if you want to be overwhelmed with more.
Local 914 Shop ND Nike Desis


ILSSA Influences at Visual Studies Workshop (VSW)

While the exhibition ILSSA Implement was installed in the VSW Gallery (Rochester, NY), the ILSSA Co-Operators selected the following titles to be stocked in the VSW bookstore as the ILSSA Influences exhibition, contextualized by the following note: "We think of our favorite books as tools for understanding other ways we can be in the world. Here are a few that have been influential in the founding of ILSSA, or have helped us chart course since then."

Activating Democracy: the I Wish to Say Project, Sheryl Oring, University of Chicago Press, 2016
Socially engaged art that engages non-art audiences, Oring's work continues to be an inspiration to us. Sheryl was also an artist involved with Booklyn, and as Local 917 Shop SO she is a current member of ILSSA.

Against Competition, Marc Fisher, Temporary Services, 2014.
An argument for art that is collaborative, participatory, and network-building.

A Guidebook of Alternative Nows, Amber Hickey (ed.), Journal of Aesthetics & Protest (JoAAP), 2012.
Art showing how the world ‘should be otherwise.’

Art Work, Temporary Services (ed.), 2009
ILSSA contributed (see p. 26!) to this anthology on art, labor, and economics.

Booklyn Education Manual, Booklyn, 2015.
Bridget and Emily (the ILSSA Co-Operators) contributed to the first version of this manual in the early 2000s.

The Craftsman, Richard Sennett, Yale University Press, 2008.
Craft: the desire to do a job well for its own sake, regardless of medium.

The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, Emile Durkheim, 1915.
Collective effervescence. Bridget’s undergraduate degree was in Anthropology, and this foundation continues to inform ILSSA.

Group Work, Temporary Services, 2002
Quotes from wide-ranging sources on working together: some food for thought.

Inventory: the Work of Christine Hill and Volksboutique, Doris Berger & Lucy Lippard, Hatje Cantz, 2004
Art as public engagement, participatory performance, aesthetics. Bridget & Emily worked alongside Christine at Booklyn.

Learning To Love You More, Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July, Prestel Press, 2007
The call-and-response as a participatory art project.

The New Manifesto of the New Lights Press, Aaron Cohick, 2009, 2017 (3rd iteration)
A wonderful and heartening treatise on why make books, now. Revisited, reimagined, rewritten, & reprinted every few years. Aaron Cohick is a long-time ILSSA member, Local 719 Shop NLP.

Open Engagement, Jen Delos Reyes (ed.), Publication Studio, 2013
“Art should not provide answers, it should ask questions.” A fantastic reader on socially engaged art.

Parabola: The Magazine of Myth and Tradition: Solitude and Community, Rob Baker & Ellen Dooling Draper (eds.), 1992
ILSSA as providing community through individual solitude: or as we like to say: “working together, alone.”

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire, 1970, (2000 PDF)
Linking education to social change. Creating the world by transforming labor. Consciousness raising as tool.

Publishing As Artistic Practice, Annette Gilbert (ed.), Sternberg Press, 2016
All aspects of publishing—not just bookmaking—as a creative practice.

Publishing in the Realm of Plant Fibers and Electrons, Temporary Services, 2014
Why publish on paper, now?

Quest—A Feminist Quarterly: Work, Work, Work, Charlotte Bunch (ed.), 1976
How do we build & sustain feminist organizations?

Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties, Rainer Maria Rilke, select writings 1892-1926
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” Love and friendship as providing opportunity for solitude.

Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions, Catherine Bell, Oxford University Press, 1997, 2009
Ritual practice and its study. Bridget’s undergraduate studies in Anthropology continue to inform ILSSA.

Sentio, Adam Valentine Carr, 2017
A zine documenting an artist-made "speculative health wearable" "designed to counteract the effects of unfulfilling work." As ILSSA, one of our perennial questions is how can we build effective affective tools?

The Situationist Times, Jacqueline de Jong (ed. & dsgnr.), 1962-1967
The intersection of art, publishing, action, and the reactivation of everyday life.

The Social Organization of Work, Randy Hodson and Teresa A. Sullivan, Wadsworth Publishing, 1990, 2011
The sociology of work: foundational research for Surveying the State of the ILSSA Union.

Stolen Sharpie Revolution, Alex Wrekk, 2014
Emily began publishing zines in 1993, and zine culture is an important influence of ILSSA.

Submissions from the 2nd Annual ILSSA Group Residency

In advance of each ILSSA Group Residency, participants are invited to share some of their favorite resources with the group. What tools do they find essential for living, working, making, being?

Art 21
Every time I watch, I get inspired. So many different ways of working and problem solving (and so many different problems to solve). So much to learn from others.
Local 646 Shop KL Katie Latona

Communism for Kids, Bini Adamczak, MIT Press, 2017
Especially the epilogue. My other tools here are oldies but this one is a recent read, and the parts I like especially have to do with the relationship between labor & capital, and here it's so clear that not-for-profit, co-ops, small/local businesses, etc. are totally not exempt from market forces and it makes me want to make sure the community organizations I work in do their best to design their structure to avoid labor exploitation.
Local 914 Shop ND Nike Desis

Digital Public Library of America
Queer Zine Archive
Reanimation Library

Speaking of tool kits, and access, I turn to these libraries / tools to mine material / just see what's up.
Local 914 Shop ND Nike Desis

"The Empties," Jess Row, The New Yorker, 2014
Fiction is very important to me—to how I understand the world, my concept of truth; it has to do with being a woman; and the idea of ecstatic truth; fiction = art making; it's the validation of feelings are facts (or the inspiration of)... and there is so much fun stuff in the dept of fiction writing, and here is just one, a short story.
Local 914 Shop ND Nike Desis

If you text "Resist" to 50409, it will prompt you to put in your name and address, and whatever message you write in there will be sent to your senators and congresspeople by fax. It's a quick way to be in direct touch with your reps and politically active when you don't have much time.
Local 646 Shop KL Katie Latona

Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf, Hogarth Press, 1938
This may not be for everyone but I am revisiting [it] to anchor me in these times.
Local 828 Shop ME Maria Epes

Uses of the Erotic: the Erotic as Power, Audre Lorde, 1978
My favorite passage: "It is not easy to demand the most from ourselves—from our lives, from our work—to go beyond the encouraged mediocrity of our society. It is not about demanding the impossible, but a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. For once we know the extent of our capability of feeling that sense of satisfaction, fullness, completion, we can then observe which of the various life endeavors brings us closest to that fullness." This constant choosing and active construction of one's life is to me what impractical labor is all about.
Local 917 Shop RC Emily Larned


The bibliography below is compiled from members' submissions to the ILSSA Working Group Temporary Library at the first ILSSA Convergence (2013) and the ILSSA Reference Collection (2010).

ILSSA library at CCCD

Local 917 Shop SE Chris Ruggiero reading the ILSSA Temporary Library installed at the Center for Craft, Creativity, & Design (2013).

A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Ralph Mayer, 1981
A Guidebook of Alternative Nows, Amber Hickey, 2012
The American Printer: A Manual of Typography, Thomas Mackellar, 1885, 1976
Art as Experience, John Dewey, 1934
Beginnings of Trade (Unit Study Books No.406), Edna M. Reed, 1934
The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics, Lewis Turco, 1968, 2000
The Craft Reader, Glenn Adamson (ed.), 2010
The Craftsman, Richard Sennett, 2008
Communications, (pamphlet) Boy Scouts of America, 1972
The Delphian Society Topical Outlines, Delphian Society, 1928
Documents 1, Art Workers Coalition (AWC), 1969
Eisen voor Nieuwelingen-spoor (folded card), undated
Extra/Ordinary: Craft & Contemporary Art, Maria Buszek, 2011
Folk Technicians & Inventors, Tadeusz Seweryn, 1978
Give Back: First Nations Perspectives on Cultural Practice, Maria Campbell & Doreen Jensen, 1994
The Great Book of Secrets, Jean Mars, 1998
"The Hand at the Heart of Craft," American Craft, Bruce Metcalf, 2000
Handbook for Craftsmen, Society of Connecticut Craftsmen, 1966
Handmade Nation, Faythe Levine & Cortney Heimerl, 2008
How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, Arnold Bennett, 1910, 1962
How to Sell Your Handicrafts, Robert G. Hart, 1954
How You Can Get an Extra Hour Every Day, Ray Josephs, 1954
If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?, Jeffrey J. Mayer, 1990
The Journal of Electrical Workers, Vol XXVI No.8, 1927
Keeping Your Money Healthy (pamphlet), Federal Reserve Bank, 1960
Letterpress Now, Jessica C. White, 2013
Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, 1986
ManCrafts, Popular Mechanics, 2009
The Nature & Art of Workmanship, David Pye, 1968
The New Manifesto of the New Lights Press (pamphlet), Aaron Cohick, 2009, 2013
New World Utopias, Paul Kagan, 1975
Non-Adhesive Binding, Vol.4: Smith's Sewing Single Sheets, Keith Smith, 2000
The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan, 2006
The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context, Grant H. Kester, 2011
One Big Union of All Workers (pamphlet), The Industrial Workers of the World, 1957
Order of the Arrow Information for New Members (pamphlet), 1968
The Oxford English Dictionary, 1991
Parabola: The Magazine of Myth and Tradition, the Craft issue, Vol XVI, No.3, 1991
Parabola: The Magazine of Myth and Tradition, the Solitude and Community issue, Vol XVII, No.1, 1992
Pioneers in Printing, Sean Jennett, 1958
Platform21's Repair Manifesto, 2009
PPS: Productive Problem Solving, Robert R. Carkhuff, 1973
Preparation (pamphlet), Masonic Service Association, 1925
Printing Explained, Herbert Simon & Harry Graham Carter, 1931
The Public School, 2007
Race Against Time (pamphlet), Richard Hartford, undated
Receiving Tube Manual, RCA, 1940
Setting Up & Running Your Own Craft Workshop , Crafts Council of Ireland, undated
Shop Class as SoulCraft, Mathew B. Crawford, 2009
The Social Organization of Work, Randy Hodson & Theresa A. Sullivan, 1995
Temporary Services, 1998
Thinking Through Craft, Glenn Adamson, 2007
Unification Agreement & Constitution, United Transportation Union, undated
Wabi Sabi, Leonard Koren, 1994
Your Labor Union, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, 1955