The Printer’s Working Library

Here at PPL we have a fantastic collection of books on the history of printing and typography, and that collection was originally founded as a resource for working printers in the area, providing a library of books they could use to improve their own work. The collection includes thousands items–books, manuscripts, pieces of ephemera– especially type specimen books.

I was curious what the working library of a modern printer might include, and Dan Wood of DWRI Letterpress was kind enough to let me stop by and take a look at the library in his print shop. Here are some photos of what I found:

There’s art all over the place in a print shop. Especially masterpieces by the printer’s kids.

Type specimen books are still in use for a lot of purposes: showing customers options for faces, picking a typeface to match something printed by photopolymer plate, etc., etc.

The biggest surprise: How essential a good etiquette guide is to the modern letterpress printer. Why? Because…

… they include example text for things like wedding invitations that are frequently printed by letterpress.

I also found some titles we were lacking, like the Vandercook 100 (DWRI Letterpress is among the print shops featured). We now have a copy in the collection.


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