Accessing Common Press

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Accessing Common Press

Common Press exists to support teaching and learning across the University of Pennsylvania, and to facilitate collaboration across the university and beyond. Common Press is available to members of the University of Pennsylvania community (students, faculty, and staff), and occasionally the wider community, in several ways.

2020-21 School Year: The Press is operating remotely while Penn Libraries are closed to the public due to COVID-19. We are available to support education around print and the book, including remote class visits, virtual press tours, online workshops, and mail art programming. Please contact us for more information or check our Schedule.


Online Curricular Support: Common Press provides curricular support by hosting remote tours, demonstrations, and workshops for Penn courses. If you are leading a class and are interested in utilizing Common Press, please submit a Class Visit Form to begin a discussion about how we might support your course. In Fall 2020, we offered synchronous and asynchronous tours of the letterpress studio, demonstrations of typesetting and printing, and hands-on bookbinding workshops with kits mailed to students. 

Portable Presses: We're pleased to offer two portable presses that are available for student borrowing for those who have some familiarity with printmaking and are in the Philadelphia area and able to pick up. Please contact Mary Tasillo for details.

Workshops / Mail Art: This year, we're pleased to offer online workshops in printmaking techniques that can be done from home and book making techniques. We have a limited number of tool kits available to loan for those with a PennLibraries account. See our Schedule for details. We're also mailing out letterpress printed postcards; you can sign up to receive them here.

Projects: Common Press facilitates creative projects incorporating print and book media, for both the Penn community and visiting artists and scholars. We invite your project proposals via the Project Inquiry Form. We regret that we are unable to take on new print production projects in Spring 2021.

On Hold - In-Studio Programming: We also hold Letterpress Orientations, Book Arts Workshops, and Open Studio Hours for Penn students, faculty, and staff. View our schedule of upcoming events. How can I use Common Press? First you must register for and complete an Introduction to Letterpress. This 3-hour workshop walks you through the basics of setting type, setting up the press, printing, and cleaning the press. After completing this workshop, you are eligible to drop in during designated Open Studio Hours to set type, or to sign up for printing time through a dedicated press sign-up link. Common Press provides ink and cleanup supplies. Some paper is available for student use.

Events for the Community: Occasionally, special workshops, open houses, and residency opportunities are open to the broader community. Sign up for our mailing list to receive notification of these opportunities.

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