April 23, 2018

Laura Damon-Moore & Erinn Batykefer | Movers & Shakers 2014 — Change Agents




Cofounder/editor, Library as Incubator Project; Assistant Director, Eager Free Public Library, Evansville, WI

MLIS, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012

laura-damonmoore.squarespace.com; @LauraDM08


Cofounder/editor, Library as Incubator Project; Assistant Librarian, Alicia Ashman Library branch, Madison Public Library, WI

MLIS, 2012; MFA, Writing, 2007; both, University of Wisconsin-Madison

erinn-batykefer.squarespace.com; @ErinnBatykefer

Both www.libraryasincubatorproject.org. booktoartclub.org; @IArtLibraries

Photo by Cynthia Marie Hoffman

The Artist Connection

Inspired by a discussion about creative advocacy in their first library and information studies class, “Information Agencies and Their Environments,” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010, Erinn Batykefer (r.) and Laura Damon-Moore conceived the Library as Incubator Project (LaIP). “We started talking about different user groups and how to communicate to them what a library has to offer; artists weren’t a user group covered in class, but we knew they were important,” says Batykefer, who works part-time at the Alicia Ashman Library branch of Madison Public Library. Damon-Moore serves as assistant director of the Eager Free Public Library in Evansville, WI.

The LaIP promotes various ways to strengthen partnerships between libraries and artists, writers, and performing artists and advocates for libraries as incubators of the arts. Coeditors Batykefer and Damon-Moore recognize the importance of using social media to raise the project’s profile. In addition to the project’s Twitter page, @IArtLibraries, which surpassed the 6,000 follower mark in January, the project also embraces Facebook and Pinterest.

“Both Laura and Erinn are artists themselves and have used their knowledge and connections in the art and writing world to make this project a success. They’ve reached outside the library world and brought artists in, creating and giving a voice to great advocates in our communities,” says Christina Jones, nominator, who helped cofound the site but is no longer active. They’ve built a team of (mostly) librarians—three project managers and 13 team members—who work on the site.

Since the website’s launch in October 2011, the LaIP team has interviewed 150 libraries about arts programs and approximately 250 artists, writers, and performers about their relationships to libraries. In October 2013, Batykefer and Damon-Moore launched a sister site, the Book to Art Club, which includes downloadable book club kits with title overviews and discussion questions, as well as creative ideas for hands-on activities enabling readers to explore a text and its themes.

In addition to their day jobs as public librarians and pro bono work on the LaIP, the talented duo have written The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide (Coffee House), scheduled for May 2014. It’s “a book about libraries, not for librarians but for a specific group of library patrons,” says Jones.

“One of the big things that our team really works to convey is that incubating the arts and facilitating hands-on learning is not new or uncharted territory for libraries. The ideas and examples we share on our site are not earth-shattering. We just happened to observe a gap in the writing about libraries and saw an opportunity to start a really interesting conversation: How do artists use libraries in their creative work and life and can artists and libraries support each other?” says Damon-Moore.



  1. I’d like to say that I don’t work full time at MPL. My position is only 60%!

  2. Steve Kemple says:

    So glad to see you both getting the attention you deserve for the amazing work you’re doing! Keep on Incubating!

  3. Congratulations!! I know how hard you both work, and it amazes me every day how much you are able to take on and share with everyone.

  4. Laura and Erinn, heartiest congratulations!! Very excited!! You deserve this recognition.. We are thrilled! It has been a great honor to have been featured on http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/ . Thank you for all the great work you do..

    Congratulations and best wishes from all of us at SAU Library


  5. Hurray – this is do very deserved! I’ve very much appreciated all that you have shared through the Library as Incubator Project and am so happy that your contributions are being recognized. The best part is now more people will learn about the project and libraries will keep on incubating!

  6. Elisabeth Owens says:

    Laura and Erinn, I’m so happy for you and you both deserve this so much! Didn’t I always tell you that one day I’d be able to say “I knew you when…!”

  7. Congrats to you both! This is so well-deserved. Keep on keepin’ on! You’re both amazing! :D

  8. Laura, I have appreciated your craft activities at the Evansville Farmers Market, work with the STEAMpunks, storytime at the pool, and Library Laura visits at the Evansville Youth Center. And now I learn about your incubator project! I continue to be impressed and amazed.

  9. We couldn’t be more proud at Madison Public Library! Erinn and Laura have worked with us on so many fun projects – Bookless, Stacked, High School Friday at the Wisconsin Book Festival, to name a few. A well deserved congratulations to Erinn and Laura for their creative energy and vision!

  10. AnotherUnderemployedLibrarian says:

    Congrats, first time hearing about this Incubator project. I was browsing that website and noticed that there was a third co-founder, how come LJ didn’t recognize them?

  11. Erin Lorandos says:

    Congratulations to you both! LaIP is an amazing website and one that I LOVE reading all the time!