The Costuming Library at CapU

By Capilano University Modified on February 06, 2024
Tags : Arts & Culture | Books | Campus Life | News

An exclusive library collection for costumers.

 The Costuming Library at CapU

As the only exclusive library collection tailored specifically for costumers, the Costuming Library at Capilano University is an invaluable resource of inspiration, history, and knowledge.

The library started to grow organically, receiving collections of books and resources as experienced costumers retired or died. Over time, the library accumulated a diverse array of in- and out-of-print books, making it a treasure trove for Costuming for Stage and Screen students and faculty.

“The costuming industry is still very much paper-based. Many of these books are out-of-print or printed in limited copies — you can’t find them online,” said Denise Gingrich, costuming coordinator and faculty member.

Originally located in an office on the second floor of the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, the library operated on an honour system. Challenges arose when access became limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, which also raised concerns about the ability to track borrowed resources as the collection continued to grow.

Time for growth

Recognizing the limits of the existing system and the ever-growing collection of books, Gingrich collaborated with librarian Tania Alekson to develop a more sophisticated organization system.

After successfully applying for a grant from the Office of Creative Activity, Research and Scholarship (CARS), the work began to facilitate the labelling and uploading process of the library collection.

“Thanks to the CARS grant, we were able to hire two students from the Costuming for Stage and Screen diploma, Sharon Dallas and Nadia Ross, to catalogue the collection and support the expansion,” Gingrich said.

Doreen Manuel, Director of Bosa Centre for Film and Animation & Inclusive Community Projects, provided a dedicated room on the main floor of the Bosa Centre, which significantly enhanced the library’s accessibility and usability. The new space increased the physical footprint of the library and allowed for better organization of the book collection.

With the help of Alekson, a classification system was created to organize the collection of resources by subcategories using a colour-coded system. “We wanted students to experience an element of surprise when they browse the shelves,” Gingrich said.

A space to collaborate

What initially began as storage space for books transformed into a collaborative and dynamic workspace where students gather to collaborate and discover the eras and intricacy of costuming.

The long-term goal is to open the Costuming Library to a wider audience in the costuming community. The cornucopia of resources available is one that Gingrich is excited to share and an opportunity to elevate CapU’s reputation in costuming on a global scale.

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