If you love books and libraries and art (and we think you do!) you might be interested in a fascinating new project called The Library of Lost Books.
The Library of Lost Books is a collection of old, discarded and damaged library books which we have rescued from certain death-by-pulping…because life is pretty hard for library books. They suffer terribly from dog-eared pages, broken spines, battered covers, unregulated scribblings and margin annotations.
Library books can have a short lifespan. Elderly or damaged library books that are still in print may get replaced.
Then there are the books no longer in regular use, those that have sat on shelves in the stacks for decades and never been checked out; new books are being published and bought by libraries everyday, so those old, unread tomes also find their way into the discard bin.
Well Birmingham Libraries and Archive Services kindly let us rescue a bunch of their elderly, unwanted, and battered books. We had to travel deep into the stacks and rummage around in bins but we found treasure. Old books and music scores with beautiful paper, interesting old bindings, engravings and old photographs and letterpress printed pages. Okay, their spines were broken, their pages speckled, many of them are not in English - but we loved them.
We figured other people would love them too.
Each rescued book is being sent to one of 50 selected UK artists to be re-made as a work of art. The re-worked books will come together as The Library of Lost Books. They will first be exhibited together during the opening festival for the brand new Library of Birmingham in September 2013 and will go on to form a travelling exhibition around the UK.
If you are interested in being a part of The Library of Lost Books we can offer you library membership which gives you access to our artists and makers website, your own membership card and even the chance to attend the opening party in 2013. It’s a bit like being let in through the back door…
If you would like to become involved with this wonderful project you can become a member of this library with a difference by taking out membership which provides access to a members-only website with information about the project and interviews with some of the artists, plus sneak previews of the books as they are made. Staff and students from Wolverhampton University have created some of the Library membership cards which are sent to all members upon joining the library. Please visit the Library of Lost Books website to join and to see a list of artists involved in the project.