Slate: Library helps transform damaged books into art

Lisa Davis has a wonderful piece in Slate about how the arts community worked with the SF Public Library to create beautiful artistic statements after a disturbed patron vandalized dozens of books with gay themes and authors.
Queer Reader Mandorla by Amy Conger courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library.
Davis writes: “On a whim, Jim Van Buskirk, program manager of the library’s James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center (where much of the destruction occurred), discussed the subject with a few artist friends. They came up with the idea for what developed into the “Reversing Vandalism” exhibit. Artists interested in the project would be sent a damaged book, with the agreement that they would create a new piece of artwork from it. As Van Buskirk and the rest of the library staff spread word of the project to the art community, the response from straight and gay artistswas staggering. That the hate crime, seemingly fueled by religious zeal, had been directed specifically at the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender populations certainly stirred many to respond. But response was also driven by a deep anger at the notion that someone would so viciously harm books. Art created from the books began to arrive at the library last summer, and in January “Reversing Vandalism” opened to the public.”
(Thanks, Judy)