Indie Photobook Library

Larissa Leclair
Indie Photobook Library @NYPH11

Making my way through the New York Photo Festival last weekend I happened across the Indie Photobook Library display, with numerous tables and book shelves filled with an amazing collection of independently published and distributed photography books. As I browsed through the books that caught my eye, I found myself instinctively turning to the back covers to look for a price tag, and had to keep reminding myself that this was a library collection, not a book store. In a world of art photography where everybody is selling or self promoting something on a 24/7 basis, it is extremely refreshing to realize the concept behind the Indie Photobook Library (IPL). Founded in 2010 by Larissa Leclair ,the IPL is "an archive that strives to preserve and showcase self-published photobooks, photobooks independently published and distributed, photography exhibition catalogs, print-on-demand photobooks, artist books, zines, photobooks printed on newsprint, limited edition photobooks, and non-English language photography books to be seen in person through traveling exhibitions and as a non-circulating public library. Having a specific collection dedicated to these kinds of books allows for the development of future discourse on trends in self-publishing, the ability to reflect on and compare books in the collection, and for scholarly research to be conducted in years, decades, and centuries to come". A truly worthy and important endeavor with ambitious long term goals. Leclair would like to see IPL someday considered the Library of Congress of the independent photo book genre's historical archive, with an eventual donation of the entire collection to a large university or museum for permanent storage.

Indie Photobook Library celebrated its one year anniversary on the weekend of NYPH11, and has already amassed an impressive collection of approximately 400 books, with an open and ongoing submission policy that encourages artists and independent publishers to add to the growing permanent collection. IPL participates in self described pop-up exhibitions throughout the year, such as the display at NYPH11. Another pop-up exhibit is scheduled for Center's Review Santa Fe on June 4th and 5th. The first feature-length exhibition of the IPL's collection is scheduled for September- November 2011 at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston. The exhibit will be curated by Larissa Leclair, George Slade, and Shane Lavalette.

Indie Photobook Library has a nice web site that documents each incoming book to the collection, as well as maintaining a searchable database of books by artist name and book title.
Those interested in submitting books to the collection can find the IPL submission page here. Doing so ensures becoming a part of photobook history!

How to submit a book to Indie Photobook Library

Indie Photobook Library
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