The Serving Library Company, Inc is a non-profit organisation established to manifest and model a culture of publishing rooted in the fields of art and design. It enacts this commitment forwards, as a publishing engine, and backwards, as an archiving mechanism, making the circular relationship between the two activities explicit.
In the spirit of the first public circulating library, founded in 1731, The Serving Library is a practical response to changing circumstances.
It is a set of conditions to address the urgency of contemporary publishing proactively by
a) providing a frame through which the evolving physical and social mechanics of publishing can be considered and affected outside the expectations fostered by the habitual trajectory of commercial publishing and distribution;
b) reclaiming the library – whether online or physically sited – as a space for public use, where resources are pooled to generate and maintain a network of shared information that serves the interests of a committed community;
and c) channelling time and energy into defining, developing and making available a vital core of knowledge around a broad definition of design as a cultural activity that produces rather than simply promotes.
The Serving Library is intended to render such diverse projects more coherent by collecting them under a new umbrella institution with a deliberate set of aims and intentions. Its form will continue to expand and change through the participation of an ever-growing circle of collaborators. Its mission is its motto, HOSPITIUM AD INFINITUM – the principle of Infinite Hospitality.
The Serving Library will develop and maintain an extensive online website (1) at www.servinglibrary.org as a public archive of Portable Document Format (PDF) texts (2) contributed by a rotating group of invited editors, to be published bi-annually.
At the end of each six-month curriculum period (3), the digital documents distributed from www.servinglibrary.org will be collected, printed and distributed as Bulletins of The Serving Library (4).
Alongside the digital library, the physical library space of The Serving Library will contain and cultivate two main collections: of books (5) that map the far-reaching but still particular interests of the constellation of writers and other contributors that have appeared in Dot Dot Dot since 2000, plus the limited but focused backlist of book titles offered at the Dexter Sinister bookshop over the past five years, covering a wide gamut of contemporary publishing; and of objects (6) derived from illustrations in Dot Dot Dot, which Dexter Sinister have been accumulating since 2004. Conceived as a parallel operation to the printed journals, irregular exhibitions of these objects perpetuate an interest in physical artefacts as material carriers of culture – of experience over convenience.
The Serving Library will host a design residency programme (7)
The Serving Library intends to research, develop, and organise a speculative pedagogical programme (8) for free use in the public domain, based on a reconsideration of the Bauhaus Foundation Course, as conceived through the standard toolbox of contemporary design software.
(9) The Serving Library will offer intermittent workshop courses during the year, lasting anything from two weeks to two months, depending on the precise nature of the curriculum, and will stage exhibitions, events and other public programmes.