Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 6:00pm to 8:00pm


I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges


YYZ Artists’ Outlet is excited to announce the launch of its very own Lending Library. This initiative is aimed at making YYZBOOKS more accessible to the community. We wish to engage our visiting patrons by disseminating over twenty-years of collected Canadian art writing and to expand the discourse surrounding exhibitions presented in the gallery. After signing up for a free YYZ Library card designed by Bill Burns and Craig Rodmore,¬†you will be able to borrow from our collection of available books published and/or distributed by YYZBOOKS. Two copies of each book will be available for monthly borrowing and the Library will run on an honour returns system. The Library will be launched with a special event, entailing the ribbon cutting of our new accessible display, and a presentation by Adam Lauder on the topic Why Share Books? Join the Library on this day and receive a gift just for becoming a member!

Come check in and check out a book, and check back on our website for further information and news about upcoming Library events.


Lending libraries have rapidly come to symbolize everything that threatens law and order in the Harper state. How did we go from an image of libraries as dusty, staid places to one of muzzled librarians whose routine activities are seen as potentially destabilizing core government operations and interests?

Sharing books sparks conversationsconversations about ideas, feelings and ways of working which increasingly authoritarian powers can only view as dangerously insubordinate or even insurrectionary. The freedom to read means thinking, creating and organizing without reference to algorithms, strategic plans and other instruments of control, that increasingly regulate all our personal and professional interactions. The creative and critical opportunities opened up by undirected reading and information exchange are limitless. But when unplanned change takes place on a community scalewhen communities start accessing and sharing information on their ownpower starts to worry.

Why Share Books? will explore the increasingly contested status of the lending library as a site of community access, knowledge production and empowerment as reflected in a series of recent Canadian artists’ projects that all take the space of the library and everyday information behaviours as their focus. Works by Lee Rodney, Derek Sullivan, Vincent Bonin, Christine Swintak, Kristina Lee Podesva, Michael Maranda and others will be investigated as indexes of an emergent politics of information access that speaks to a deepening crisis in expressions of publicness in Canada.

But the picture is not all dire. These artists’ projects also suggest ways of (re)activating the library, the book, and the document as tools for restructuring the social. Building on these precedents, Why Share Books? will set the stage for an open-ended conversation about reading and community that invites participants to share their experiences with books and libraries and to reclaim the simple acts of reading and sharing as tactics for renegotiating disenabling information flows and the power structures that they support.

ADAM LAUDER is the editor of a book featuring new work by IAIN BAXTER&, H& IT ON (YYZ, 2012), that includes an essay by Lauder which outlines the first history of information art in Canada. He has also written a chapter on artist and marketing theorist Bertram Brooker (1888-1955) that appears in The Logic of Nature, The Romance of Space (2010). He has contributed articles to Canadian Art, Border Crossings, C, Hunter and Cook and Millions magazines as well as scholarly journals including Technoetic Arts, Art Documentation, The Journal of Canadian Art History, TOPIA, and Future Anterior. He was W.P. Scott Chair for Research in e-Librarianship at York University, where he developed an online catalogue raisonn of the work of IAIN BAXTER&, the IAINBAXTER&raisonnE.

Why Share Books?, 2013. Photo credit: Mallory Wilkinson