How to Show Off Your Love of Books - and Your Creativity
Every October since 2011, libraries and partner organizations across southeast Texas have selected a book and encouraged area booklovers to read, discuss and attend related events. They call it Gulf Coast Reads and this year’s selection is Susan Orlean’s The Library Book about the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire that destroyed thousands of books.
Like many Gulf Coast libraries after Hurricane Harvey, LAPL’s recovery from disaster was long and required a lot of reimagining and repurposing old things to make something new. With that in mind, many Harris County Public Libraries are hosting book-themed Arts & Crafts events where patrons will be able to create new objects from discarded books to honor a favorite title or just showcase their love of books. After all, creating something new, beautiful and useful from the remnants is something that many Houstonians are great at.
Books, as objects, often hold a special place in readers’ hearts, and the destruction of a book is often looked on as sacrilegious. This is especially true for librarians. They often cite an early and abiding love for books as the reason they became librarians. For most of the projects in the books listed below, you’ll want to use an old book but for some of the projects, you really might want to use a book you love to display your affection for that particular title. We, in no way, condone the destruction of any library books and for the materials in our project, we used books that were discarded from Friends of the Library book sales, not the library’s collection.
The pictured book wreath craft was taken from The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti, which features numerous crafts that will give your 1997 copy of Reader's Digest new life as a wreath, a fire screen, or even as a chandelier! The tips and projects from this book are really Pinterest worthy and unique. See a video on how to make a book wreath here.
Playing with Books by Jason Thompson has lots of creative projects using the various parts of books to reimagine them into things you will use every day. One standout is the Book Bag project. It’s a funky unique book bag made from children’s book illustrations. This book also has great informative and inspirational sections about the anatomy of books and the skills needed for the projects with samples from artists who have created book-inspired art.
Our home libraries hold the books that we treasure for the emotional connections we have with them. These are books that we would save in a house fire and books that you definitely wouldn’t use for a book craft. In Lisa Occhipinti’s Novel Living: Collecting, Decorating, and Crafting Books, Occhipinti focuses on appreciating physical books and has many solutions for living with your books by “bookscaping.” It has loads of tips for collecting and organizing your bookstacks into a stylish home library. This book also gives interesting insights on why the books we collect can define who we are.
Gulf Coast Reads programs can be found at your local library’s events calendar or by visiting www.gulfcoastreads.org to see the full program calendar. You can find more craft and arts books and events at www.hcpl.net.
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