The Independent Publishing Resource Center
Ron Placone Interviews Justin Hocking, Director of The Independent Publishing Resource Center
In the world of independent publishing, a world wrought with twists, turns, confusion, ambiguity, and uncertainty at EVERY angle, the idea of having some sort of outlet, solid ground, a sanctuary, if you will, is immaculate.
The people of Portland, OR have something pretty close in the Independent Publishing Resource Center. The IPRC specializes in providing a workspace, complete with computer workstations with publishing software, letterpresses, printers, copiers, internet, and many other tools to aid in the publishing process, to any self-publisher or professional interested. In addition, the IPRC holds events, meetings, and courses aimed at educating the public on publishing, literature and art.
The Publishing Resource Center can be used by any member of the public for a reasonable rate of $5 an hour, or members can pay a yearly fee of $45-$100(sliding scale). Registration and orientation is available and required of all those wanting to become part of the IPRC Community. Current Upcoming events include a course on InDesign, a popular program for layout and design, a course dealing with drawing comics, Advanced Typesetting and Print, and an artist appearance by Briar Levit. The Center is open 7 days a week and is undoubtedly a huge aid to the dense and rich literary community in Portland.
Having never been to the IPRC myself, I decided to call the center to see if anyone would be willing to share more information with me for the sake of this article. Fortunately, I caught Justin Hocking, Director, at a good time and he was more than willing to talk with me and answer a few questions:
What would you say is the most special part about the IPRC, how does it contribute most to the literary community in Portland besides the obvious?
It’s just a great place that serves as a community for writers and publishers. It’s a great place to be inspired. When people come here they get to immerse themselves in a community of writers and self-publishers, and these people are active. They’re doing it themselves, they’re not waiting around hoping to be picked up. People are making their own zines and books.
How long has the IPRC been around?
It’s actually ironic you called, we were just planning events for our 10th Anniversary. The IPRC was started in 1998 by Chloe Dolly and Rebecca Gilbert who owned Reading Frenzy, a bookstore in Portland. They sold a lot of zines there on consignment, and people would come in and be curious about zine creation. So, basically, they started the IPRC in the space on top of the store to help people make zines, and it slowly branched into what it is today.
I wish every city had something like this, I’m sure Portland appreciates it. Do you receive funding from the city?
No. We do receive a fair amount of grants from different charitable organizations. That and membership fees is how we’re funded.
How many members do you have?
Right now we have about 300. Over the years I think we’ve had 1400 or so with people coming and going.
What are some of your plans for the future?
Well, our letterpress printing has been extremely popular, we have a waiting list until about July. The letterpress is hand-operated and allows people to work on small book projects or limited edition prints or something of that nature. We plan on expanding the letterpress shop. Also, we hope to continue to expand on the workshops we offer. We’re at 12 a month right now, we started at 2 a month. Basically, we want to continue to foster indie publishing…That’s something I’m always thinking about. Having this physical center provides a nice resource for writers, and for out-of-town folks it gives them a good place to land and meet folks. I’d like to see a consortium, so to speak, of small presses. It’s important they continue supporting each other and this fosters that. I really believe that the Northwest is one of the capitals for independent publishing, I’d like to do our share in helping to expand that.