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As an avant-garde medium, the artist’s book challenges the expectations of the reader/viewer and violates the conventional distinctions between literature and the visual arts. Those expectations and conventions are institutionalized in the popular notion of the library as a repository for books and of the librarian’s role as custodian of that repository. This article rejects this conventionalized approach and posits in its stead the library as a sort of performance space in which the confrontation between artist and audience may occur. In this model, the librarian becomes an avant-garde performer who uses the library’s conventional cataloging system to establish a set of expectations that are challenged by the work at hand. As a kind of “straight man,” the librarian becomes as essential actor in the realization of the work.