(Printer at right from NYPL Digital Gallery)
Although a huge commercial book production industry exists today, there remain many devotees of the traditionally-made book. The creation of books by hand is an art practiced by highly skilled individuals adept at setting type, executing design, printing pages, and binding; often their printed works incorporate novel book structures as well. NYPL has an exemplary collection of such lovingly produced books from small or private presses ranging from Adagio Press to Zephyrus Image. Additionally, NYPL holds a great number of guides, histories, and bibliographies of private presses in the United States, England, Australia, Canada, and more for further reference. (The links provided here are to just the tip of this particular iceberg.)
If you live in New York City and want to get a behind the scenes peek at traditional book making combined with creative re-thinking of the book as an art form, go to the The Center for Book Arts on Sept. 15th, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, for its Fall Open House. This is an excellent opportunity to take in a book arts exhibition as well as to see the tools and supplies needed to make paper, set type, print, and bind books. Think of the institution as an open book! The Center is well-known for its classes as well, so the crafty and curious among you can learn book arts there.