Five Great Things Libraries Are Doing With Old Books | LJ Insider
Library book sales (and their descendants, such as Better World Books) are a great institution, but they’re not the only thing libraries can do—or help their patrons do—with obsolete titles besides the dumpster. Here are five creative reuses from real libraries.
- Turning them into New Books
In Richmond, VA, The People’s Library is a collaborative art project to create 100 handmade books of personal history. The Richmond Public Library helped collect discarded books to be recycled into paper, then bound into books with prompts inside them. They’ll be added to the library’s permanent collection, and patrons can check them out and respond to the prompts.
- Turning them into Art
In Bath, England, the library found a new use for weeded books that don’t sell. Patrons collect a book and turn it into an art contest entrywith the help, if they like, of a series of library workshops. The resulting art projects are exhibited at the central library and online and the public votes for their favorites; the winner in each category receives a free ereader.
- Fixing Them
For 40 years, Georgia’s Hall County Library System has partnered with the National Library Bindery to restore old books and Biblesbelonging to library patrons. Repairs take about two months, and patrons are charged for the service.
- Turning Them Into Furniture
An oldie but a goodie: a reference desk made of books in a Dutch library.
- Turning Them into Fundraisers
Recycled Reads, the Austin Public Library’s used bookstore, upcycles old books and media into crafts and sells the results.
I now really want to start an art contest for book sculptures. We have an art major and books that will never sell on the book sale (hello, London postal code from 1967!). I can make this happen.
[Need to validate your existence as a librarian to yourself or others,
There’s a Neil Gaiman quote for that]
Aside from the popular Google quote (“Google can bring you back 100000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.”), I’m quite fond of “I see libraries and librarians as frontline soldiers in the war against illiteracy and the lack of imagination.” and “Rule number one: Don’t fuck with librarians.”