From 1996 to 1998, Renegade Library was a social practice and a collection of over 500 artist books. Originating with a mail art call for “collaborative mail art in book form,” this project brought over 700 artists from some 40 countries into dialogue. Developed for an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, the collection included zines, assemblings, multiples, add & pass, miniatures, visual poetry, small presses, and much more. The archive, now in 20 mail-able boxes, are being distributed to public libraries and artist book collections around the globe.
Download the 1998 catalog, Books on Fire
Videos from recipients of Renegade Library boxes:
RRD collective receives RL Box #15 in 2018. (Thank you for making and sharing this record, RRD!)
About this video - In April, 2018 Jackline Awoko, a Kenyan-born Canadian Social Worker, delivered Box 12 to the wonderful Libreria Ghana. Awoko has been an enthusiastic "spectator" of Renegade Library and an occasional participant in Lois Klassen's other social art projects (see - readingthemigrationlibrary.com). In her presentation of this box, Awoko offered an inspired summary of Renegade Library's aims:
“…When [the artists] were thinking about books it was almost as resistance –to popular culture and what we know about art. It’s almost like they were saying, this [the art scene] is oppression, and we are resistant. So, it’s our own way of naming our own work [as art]. It doesn’t matter what you call it, [what’s important] is what we call it.
“It’s my honour and my privilege to be a delivery person. I am almost like a spectator. I come from the sidelines and I look. And in the process of looking, I happen to be in Ghana. So, it is my privilege to present this to you.”
Thank you also to Roxanne Bougsin Koffi who received the box on behalf of Sylvia Arthur, the founder of Libreria Ghana --"Ghana’s first subscription model library dedicated to providing readers with high-quality contemporary international and African literature."
Thank you also to Alhassan Iddi for capturing this on video.