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Repurposed books find new life as artwork

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Cami DiBattista | For Trib Total Media
Judy Linz Ross of Greensburg works on an art project created from pages of a discarded book. Ross is submitting her project to the Ligonier Valley Library’s May 3 Novel Art event.
Cami DiBattista | For Trib Total Media
Created by Amanda Jessen of Eagle, Colo., these repurposed books have been transformed into decorative containers to hold personal mementos. Submissions for the Novel Art event are being accepted from interested parties from far and wide. A silent auction will be held on May 3 at Ligoner Valley Library.

An intricate flower made from a 1965 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica or a swirly, abstract creation made out of an old romance novel, are all book repurposing projects currently being designed for the Ligonier Valley Library's Novel Art event.

The ongoing community fundraising event will take place during the next two months and will conclude with a silent auction party on May 3.

“I think it's a fabulous, very unique project,” said Janet Hudson of Rector, the library director. “And the concept of using the books is just perfect.”

Interested parties are invited to participate in this creative project by creating and submitting personal works of art that will be auctioned off to benefit the library's ongoing efforts to update technology.

Old, out of date books which need to be retired are often dumped in landfills due to the inability of recycling facilities to process the binding glue. Patricia Childs the event's chairwoman said the idea to repurpose books in this way came to her when she was brainstorming ideas that could possibly become annual fundraising events for the library.

“There's just no good way to get rid of the books that need to go and this will give them a new life,” said Childs. “There's so much you can do. Your imagination is your only limitation.”

Childs recommends searching online for inspiration and ideas about repurposing books.

Project ideas are plentiful and books, if needed, are available for no cost from the library by inquiring at the front desk. Several completed projects are also displayed at the library. Participants may register in one of three categories: amateur, professional, and youth age 15 and under.

“I think it's a wonderful, creative idea,” said Anne Bush, a Ligonier resident who has been considering several different ideas, “A lot of people can do it, regardless of age and talent.”

Childs agrees that this is a project that can be enjoyed by any different talent level. “Everyone can make something; the possibilities are endless,” Childs said. “We don't want people to be intimidated; this is a project that anyone can do.”

Art students in Ligonier Valley and neighboring school districts are also embracing the concept of up-cycling books in this way to create their own works of art. The library is hoping that some students will enter the contest.

Additionally, the library is presenting a children's workshop to create one big project for the event scheduled for 10:30 a.m. March 23 and registration is suggested. Children will be learning origami using pages of discarded books, Hudson said.

Individuals who wish to participate are asked to fill out an intent to submit form, which can be found at the library or online, by March 15. Ideas do not have to be set in stone at this time; this is simply for the library to get an idea of how many participants to expect. Entries will be accepted after this date, but it is suggested that participants try to meet this deadline.

Ligonier resident Betty Gaston said she has an idea and hopes to complete a project.

“The event is a terrific idea,” said Gaston, who admits the concept defacing a book takes some time to get used to. “And the problem is, when I'm looking through books to choose I keep finding myself starting to read them.”

Completed entries must be dropped off at the library April 22 to 26. All entries will then be on display at the library until May 3. During this time, community members are invited to visit and enjoy the entries and encouraged to vote for their favorites – earning one entry a “People's Choice” award. Absentee sealed bid forms may be submitted by any individual who is unable to attend the silent auction bidding event.

“We're very excited,” said Childs, “We'd love to see the whole community involved.”

Tickets for the auction must be purchased in advance through the Ligonier Valley Library. Cost is $25 per ticket or $40 for two. Patron levels are available. Contact the library for information at 724-238-6451 or

Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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