Book Recycling

I think it only fitting that my first library-focused blog post be inspired by crafting. Crafting + Books = A Gorgeous Blend of My Favorite Things. Now we just have to work out how to put yarn in that equation and we’ll have a triple threat.

During the summer class I took at Syracuse University, we covered the subject of weeding a library collections. I had never thought seriously about how libraries manage their collections, but of course, books don’t stay young and hip forever. Information goes out of date; well-loved books disintegrate and fall apart. Sometimes, book content just plain goes out of style and people do not read them anymore because the target audience is long gone. Imagine refusing to update your library’s collection of atlases from 1980 because they are still in good condition — school kids might grow up thinking that Yugoslavia and the U.S.S.R are countries. Obsolete books have the power to spread misinformation. Books that are falling apart won’t leave the shelves and so their information won’t circulate at all!

There is still a lot of controversy and I can totally see why. Getting rid of a book is like getting rid of knowledge! It is getting rid of someone’s hard work!  However, librarians need to refresh book collections and keep a constant, critical eye on what is on the shelf. There are lots of layers of criteria that librarians use to decide whether or not a book stays or goes; no one takes these decisions lightly.

So what is a librarian to do when s/he has amassed a pile of weeded books?

Get crafty! (Heheh! Pun!)

My colleagues in class, like me, had a hard time being comfortable with the idea of just chucking a book in the garbage once it has been deemed unworthy for circulation. Being of an environmentally conscious bent, most of us decided it would be better to try to upcycle the books instead of just throwing them away or even recycling them. Reduce and reuse come before recycle, guys.

So I turned to the almighty Pinterest and found that many other people had the same idea. I’ve put together a little pin board of awesome book upcycling ideas. Here is one of my favorites:

If you click on that picture’s caption it will take you to the sculpture’s original online source. There are many cool sculpture designs, but I like the clock because it’s practical.

Check out my whole Pinterest board of super awesome book upcycling ideas. 

I love that people get so creative to use materials that would otherwise just be lost from use. You could even shred ruined books and make new, home-made paper out of it. School librarians could collaborate with art teachers to provide them with very economical raw materials with which students could make art.

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2 responses to “Book Recycling

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