We offer hands-on classes, workshops, events, and Open Hours at the Virginia Center for the Book in order for individuals and groups to learn new skills and develop proficiency with our letterpress and bookmaking equipment.

Open Hours

The studio is open for use between the hours of 12:00-4:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, or by appointment.

Using the Shop

In order to use specific equipment, you must schedule press time in advance by emailing bookarts@virginiahumanities.org. To check the press calendar for availability, click here. Members and anyone else who has completed certification may use the equipment that they have been approved to operate without supervision. 

Unless arranged for, you are expected to adhere to Book Arts guidelines, provide all the materials needed to complete your project, and leave the Center in the same or better condition than you found it.

Equipment available

Located in the Virginia Center for the Book, the following equipment is available for use by members and certified users, as well as for public classes and workshops: 

  • 375 cases of letterpress type (wood and lead)
  • Two Vandercook Universal I presses
  • Chandler & Price press (ca. 1890)
  • Etching press (14”×24” bed)
  • Board shear (28” throat)
  • Guillotine paper cutter (17” throat)
  • Paper cutter (22” throat)
  • Backing press
  • Kingsley foil stamping machine

How do I complete my certification to use equipment without supervision?

In order to use press equipment for independent projects, you must first complete the following to receive certification:

  • One Letterpress or Bookbinding Core or Core Intensive class series
  • Three Advanced Level Printing or Bookbinding classes (depending on type of certification), such as one of the following frequently-offered classes:
    • Printmaking with purpose (western block printing styles)
    • Monotype and etching 
    • Japanese wood block printing 
    • Typography and letterpress 
    • Book conservation 
    • Leather binding 
    • Advanced bookbinding
    • Papermaking 
    • Marbling and suminagashi
  • Contribution of original work to an annual Members’ Project 
  • Completion of a final project, printing test, and portfolio review (5-10 printed pieces in different styles)