MACHIAS, Maine – The University of Maine at Machias received a $30,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to add a high-speed bindery to its professional Book Arts Studio. The studio is home to the UMM Press and serves as the printing facility for students in the English and Book Arts degree program.
The funds, awarded as the result of a grant application, will allow the university to upgrade its printing shop to facilitate high-speed production of quality paperback books. The new binding and cutting machines that will be purchased are expected to bind, trim and finish approximately 250 books per hour.
The UMM Press publishes literature and artists’ books from around the region and operates under two imprints, the Library for Early Maine Literature, dedicated to reissuing rare and important works of Maine literature written before 1900, and the Stone Island Press, an imprint publishing handmade editions of contemporary Maine poetry and fiction.
Program faculty expect that the new machinery will make students more capable as professionals and entrepreneurs.
The grant funds were awarded just as students in the English and Book Arts program prepare to wrap up a critical edition of Sally Sayward Wood’s “Julia and the Illuminated Baron,” the first gothic novel written by a woman in the United States and the earliest work of Maine literature. Students have spent nearly two years editing, annotating and designing every detail of the reprinted edition. The book is expected to be printed on the upgraded UMM Press this summer.
This is the second King Foundation grant awarded in recent years to the University. In 2006, UMM applied for and received a grant to build the Book Arts Studio and purchase several pieces of printing equipment.
In addition to the grant awarded by the foundation, the Book Arts Studio has received in-kind contributions to provide technical and remodeling support for the upcoming expansion.