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The New Jersey Book Arts Symposium is an annual daylong event on the first Friday in November that presents contemporary work by living New Jersey book artists and considers issues of current relevance to practitioners within the field of the book arts, and to the cultural perception and definition of The Book. Besides its distinctive focus on New Jersey, the NJBAS also distinguishes itself by looking at work in all aspects of the book arts--the ongoing practice of traditional arts, such as typography, book-binding, paper-making, calligraphy, illustration and book-design, alongside the innovative production of "artists' books," "bookworks" or "book objects." As well as showcasing the work of contemporary artists, the NJBAS includes panel discussions and academic papers on the history-(ies) of the book. A non-profit event, the NJBAS is supported by the Rutgers University Libraries, although charges a nominal entrance fee (discounted for Rutgers staff and faculty). Students are given free admission although required to register in advance.

NJBAS on the Web


For a recapitulation of The First Annual New Jersey Book Arts Symposium, see the Newsletter of the Guild of BookWorkers, Issue number 104, February 1996, or made available here by their kind permission.


For a sense of The Second Annual New Jersey Book Arts Symposium, see the electronic exhibition mounted on the World Wide Web. Here is the URL:


The Fifth Annual Book Arts Symposium was held on November 5, 1999, at the Dana Library, Newark-Rutgers, Newark, NJ. The theme for this year's Symposium, Res Ipsa Loquitur: The Thing Speaks For Itself, was wordless books, or books lacking verbal texts. Divided into three parts, a hands-on workshop in paper-making, by Kim Carr; presentations by five New Jersey artists, including print makers, book artists and children's book illustrators; and papers on various historical instances of books without words, gave the NJBAS a more deeply divided but coherent program. (See PICTURES From Fifth Symposium).


The Seventh Book Arts Symposium, The Seventh INTERNATIONAL New Jersey Book Arts Symposium, looked at the interpretation and creation of book arts outside the US. Firsts included a musical performance of Rilke's Duino Elegy #1, composed by Dary-John Mizelle, and sketches rendered by artist-in-residence-for-a-day, Marcia Sandmeyer Wilson. (See PICTURES from Seventh Symposium.)


The New Jersey Book Arts Symposium convened its ninth annual meeting, Styles of Collecting, Styles of the Book, in 2003, by acknowledging recent losses, the legendary Stella Waitzkin, whose collaboration with Judith Brodsky and the Center brought her to the Symposium in 1998, at NJBAS #4, Collaboration and the Book Arts: Bringing Things to a Pretty Pass, and Peter Ocker, the young son of NJBAS Committee Member, Ralph Ocker--but also noting an overflow audience and the welcome presence of many new faces. Symposium web exhibit.


In 2014, the NJBAS celebrated its twentieth anniversary at the Twentieth New Jersey Book Arts Symposium. Along with champagne and sheet-cake, The NJBAS, on behalf of Rutgers University, awarded The Rutgers Medal to John Ross and Clare Romano, for their long-standing support of the Libraries and the Book Arts. It is now possible to see the award ceremony (and the afternoon's proceedings) at

Since moving to New Brunswick, the NJBAS presentations have been recorded and preserved in RU Core, the Rutgers Libraries Digital Repository. Now anyone anywhere in the world can watch every NJBAS presentation from 2013-2018, at any time--24 hours a day, 8 days a week (as the Beatles always say). To see them, go to RU CORE, or, for a list of available videos, with links, see


For some history on The New Jersey Book Arts Symposium, and for an alphabetical list of artists and speakers who appeared at the Symposium 1995-, see Presenters

For more information about the NJBAS please contact Michael Joseph, at