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 entry with 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.