BookLab Graphic Logo: Image of a book, open, with pages ruffling from the center to the right side

Four images: setting type; platen press; people examining a medieval manuscript page of musical notation and text; book that combines

BookLab is Maryland English’s dedicated space for the study of the codex book in all of its material, historical, cultural, and imaginative diversity.

It is a makerspace, a studio, a library, and a community press.

BookLab's resources include three hand-presses for letterpress printing (they are: a "Book Beetle" modelled on the historic Gutenberg screw press, an authentic 19th-century Victorian parlor press, and a Line-O-Scribe sign press for poster and broadside work), a cabinet full of lead type and ornaments in various sizes and styles as well as wood type, a 3-D printer, tools and hardware for bookbinding and paper-making, sensors, circuitry, and paper computing materials (like conductive thread and thermochromic ink), two iPads, and a collection of several hundred artists' books, experimental books, chapbooks, zines, historical artifacts, and books about books.

We host classes (please inquire), run workshops, organize talks and symposia, and maintain regular open hours during which anyone may drop by and consult with us or use or facilities and equipment.


Location: Tawes 3248

Fall 2019 Hours:

Monday 10-5 | Tuesday 12-5 | Wednesday 10-3 | Thursday 12-5

Email: BookLab@UMD.EDU | Twitter and Instagram: @UMD_BookLab

One-Pager for Download: PDF icon booklab_one-pager.pdf

Our Online Catalog:

Upcoming Events

What can I do there?

  • Learn fundamentals of book history and physical and descriptive bibliography
  • Set letterpress type and print postcards, bookmarks, broadsides, or pages on three different tabletop presses
  • Experiment with 3-D printing, electronic sensors, circuitry, and other tactile computing elements
  • Work in papermaking, bookbinding, and other elements of the traditional book arts, as well as zines and zine-making
  • Touch a sheet of 15th-century vellum, or a book printed with waterproof pages, or a page printed in Braille
  • Explore our library of several hundred artist’s books, experimental books, and books about books
  • Participate in talks and workshops from visiting artists and scholars

Newsletter Archive


  • ENGL 479P, BookLab (Fall 2019), Matthew Kirschenbaum
  • ENGL 759C, BookLab (Spring 2019), Matthew Kirschenbaum


  • GotSort, by Kari Kraus. GotSort is a simple Python program that allows you to paste or enter text and then calculate the number of individual pieces of type (sorts) you will need to compose it in letterpress.

BookLab was co-founded and is co-directed by Matthew Kirschenbaum and Kari Kraus; they are assisted by Mal Haselberger and Britt Starr.

Image: View of BookLab Workspace