Library love

It’s National Library Week so I’m going to share the library love.

First, from Zak Stone at GOOD, a great article about a small Massachusettes library, MN Spear, raising money for a new building. Their homegrown You Tube video, “Where would you be without your library?” has gone viral, attracting donations from around the world. They’ve also started a Tumblr feed where people share the many reasons they love their libraries.

You can find lots to love about libraries online. Over on Pinterest, you can visit beautiful libraries, check out library art project ideas, or enter the Age of Librarius. Galley Cat reports on the ALA’s “10 most frequently challenged library books” of 2011. Flavorwire shares all kinds of DIY and alternative library spaces on its “Tiny Libraries, DIY Reading Rooms, and Other Micro Book Depots” post. Huffington Post’s “Libraries in Crisis” section is really about why libraries are as important as ever, why people are fighting library budget cuts across the country, and how libraries are getting creative, doing more with less.

Of course, the best way to love your library is to support it. Go there regularly, check out what they have to offer. If you haven’t been lately, you’ll find much more than books — libraries lend e-readers, downloadable ebooks and audio books, museum passes, magazines, even telescopes. They host classes & programs for all ages, from concerts, readings, discussion groups, and films to edible book contests.  And as I mentioned last week, they incubate the arts.

What do you love about your library?

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Book art

Book art used to refer to artfully made books featuring fine letterpress printing, hand-sewn bindings, beautiful papers and covers.  Today it’s as likely to mean art made from recycled books. In the past year or so I’ve noticed decoraters, Etsy crafters, and DIY types cited in news articles, blog posts, and social media for their re-purposed book projects. Many libraries I follow posted photos of their book trees for the holidays.

As a writer, reader and librarian I’ve feel a little Janus-like about this surge of book art. On the one hand, people, these are books you are mutilating. And yet, how pretty, how nice to give books another life. There’s a table in Regina Library that looks as if it is made from giant old volumes and I found myself touching them to see if they were real, torn between wanting them to be and feeling that if they were someone should rescue them.

At GOOD‘s “Intermission” page, Kristy Pyke points visitors to the  strangest and yet also most beautiful installation of book art I’ve come across in my internet wanderings.  Biografias, a work made of three sculptures in Spain by Alicia Martin, incorporates thousands of books, which look as if they are streaming out of buildings like water. The pages even blow in the wind. I’ve posted one photo below. Take this link to see the rest. What do you think?