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UMM Book Arts Studio Receives $30K Grant for High-speed Bindery

Added on: April 17, 2012

UMM student Danni McHugh prints a broadside in the Book Arts StudioMACHIAS, Maine – The University of Maine at Machias has received a $30,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to add a high-speed bindery to its professional Book Arts Studio. The studio is home to the UMM Press and serves as the printing facility for students in the English and Book Arts degree program.

The funds, awarded as the result of a grant application, will allow the University to upgrade its printing shop to facilitate high-speed production of quality paperback books. The new binding and cutting machines that will be purchased are expected to bind, trim, and finish approximately 250 books per hour.

“The new high-speed bindery will add an important feature to the viability of the UMM Press in regards to its mission, to preserve and disseminate Maine’s literary heritage using local resources and expertise,” said Bernie Vinzani, associate professor of art and book arts. “The bindery will also expand the infrastructure for an innovative curriculum.”

A finished book created in the UMM Book Arts StudioThe UMM Press publishes literature and artists’ books from around the region and operates under two imprints: the Library for Early Maine Literature, dedicated to reissuing rare and important works of Maine literature written before 1900, and the Stone Island Press, an imprint publishing handmade editions of contemporary Maine poetry and fiction.

Program faculty expect that the new machinery will make students more capable as professionals and entrepreneurs.

“Our hope is that, as we continue to publish books that preserve Maine’s heritage, our students will be learning another practical dimension of a craft that will give them better opportunities for success,” added Marcus LiBrizzi, professor of English.

The English and Book Arts program combines the study of literature, creative writing, and the aesthetics of hands-on practical publishing so that students can engage in the complete process of literature from inspiration through publication to marketing and publicity. The present curriculum allows students to create chapbooks on letter presses, print a literary journal through desktop publishing, and publish electronic books for the Kindle and other e-readers. The new bindery will also enable the fusion of traditional book arts with high-speed publishing, where students will be able to insert hand-printed components into digitally-printed editions being bound.

The grant funds were awarded just as students in the English and Book Arts program prepare to wrap up a critical edition of Sally Sayward Wood’s Julia and the Illuminated Baron, the first gothic novel written by a woman in the United States and the earliest work of Maine literature. Students have spent nearly two years editing, annotating, and designing every detail of the reprinted edition. The book is expected to be printed on the upgraded UMM Press this summer.

This is the second King Foundation grant awarded in recent years to the University. In 2006, UMM applied for and received a grant to build the Book Arts Studio and purchase several pieces of printing equipment.

In addition to the grant awarded by the foundation, the Book Arts Studio has received in-kind contributions to provide technical and remodeling support for the upcoming expansion. The funds and in-kind contributions designated for the high-speed bindery currently total $42,000.


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