Max Yela

Max Yela

  • Adjunct Instructor, School of Information Studies

Adjunct Instructor


  • MS, Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston
  • BA, History (minors in Art History and Classical Civilizations), University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Max Yela has been Head of the Special Collections Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries since 1994. Prior to this, he was the public services librarian for Special Collections at the University of Delaware, 1985-1994. Besides being an adjunct instructor in the UWM School of Information Studies, Max also taught book arts concepts and practice in the UWM Department of Art & Design from 2004 to 2015. His main research interests are in media theory and the effects of media on human cognition. His research includes history of the book as a media presence in human cultures, art mediation, and especially the book as an art medium. Max has been active in the Wisconsin arts community for over 20 years, and was honored for his contributions with a 2017 Wisconsin Visual Art Achievement Award.

Course Taught

603 History of Books and Printing

Sample Presentations

Lecturer, "The Code of Identity: Letter Forms and the Construct of Self," Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Book Room Educational Series, October 14, 2017.

Lecturer, “Why We Think the Way We Think: The Example of Book History,” Milwaukee Rotary Club, April 18, 2017.

Presenter, "Borges, the Kabbalah, and the Artists Book: Jewish Interpolations in the Works of Jorge Luis Borges as Expressed in the Artist's Book-work of Mirta Kupferminc and Saúl Sosnowski," Midwest Modern Language Association, Milwaukee, November 8, 2013.

Lecturer, “Artists Books as Expression, Documentation, and Pedagogy,” Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, November 3, 2009.

Lecturer, “Why Rare Books? A Discussion of the Continued Importance of Rare Books in a Digital Age,” Milwaukee Public Library as the inaugural presentation in the Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Book Room Educational Series, April 19 & 23, 2006.

Panelist, “Virtue and Vandalism: The Ethics of Breaking Books,” Newberry Library, Chicago, co-sponsored by the Caxton Club, May 20, 2005.

Sample Publications

Peter and Donna Thomas: The Work of 40 Years. [General editor]. Forthcoming, December 2017.

Works on Paper from the American Midwest. Catalog of an exhibition at Gail Art Museum, May 12-June 29, 2014, in Gyeonggi-do, Korea. Stevens Point, Wis.: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 2014.

Position/Opposition. Johannesburg, South Africa: Gallery AOP, 2011.

Caren Heft: The Arcadian Press; Giving Voice. [Stevens Point, Wis.]: Noel Fine Arts Center, Dept. of Art & Design, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, [2010].

La Bendición. Artist’s book designed and printed by Caren Heft. Stevens Point, Wis.: Arcadian Press, 2009.

5th International Book & Paper Arts Triennial, July 25-September 12, 2008. Chicago: Columbia College Chicago Center for Book & Paper Arts, 2008.

The Shape and Color of Research, An exhibition of new artwork based on research in Special Collections . . . . Milwaukee, Wis.: UWM Libraries, 2002.

Contemporary Artists’ Prints in Books. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware Library, 1994.