The Art Assignment 13: Shelf Portrait: Public Library
"No matter who you are, no matter where you live, and no matter how many people are chasing you, what you don’t read is often as important as what you do read."
As a librarian I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that you are what you read and visa-versa. For this ArtAssignment, I knew I wanted to do a portrait of my town and was inspired by the quote above to do an “anti-portrait” of sorts. I wanted to see what spine poetry of what our patrons don’t read woud reveal about us as a community.
In accordance with that idea, I selected my books from our sale shelves. These are books that either weren’t being checked-out or were donated and the librarians choose not to add them because we either already owned the book or we knew from experience it would not be checked out if we added it.
Earlier this year a tornado torn through and obliterated parts of my town. My library was spared but many of our patron’s homes and possessions were not. I’m especially proud of the top picture because it reminds me of how I felt the morning after the tornado when dawn revealed not only the destruction of the tornado but also my town coming together to help each other through the devastation.
That was this five months ago. We banned together, cleaned up, and re-built our town. We’ve emerging confidently and we’re ready to put the past storms behind us, ergo: on the for sale shelf.
As for the bottom pictures it makes me laugh because, well, I live in a small town in the Midwest. Dumb criminals? The power of rubber bands? This is farm country, and ain’t nobody got time for that.