Every year, libraries weed and eliminate books that no longer fit the criteria for collections. This leads to the inevitable problem that occurs with weeding: what to do with these weeded books?
I also had this problem until I went to a friend’s house and saw the most gorgeous thing this librarian had ever seen—a book wreath! Weeded books took on a completely different life and use. I refer to this repurposing of weeded books as creative archiving. Creative archiving is taking a weeded book and using it for artistic and unique purposes to preserve the book in an entirely new format.
In Future Ready libraries, makerspaces are happening. My definition of makerspace is a place where students can further develop learning and understanding by creating something new to spark thinking and creativity. Nothing says makerspace like weeded books, from paperbacks to reference and everything in between. Put the weeded books out with general directions of what to do with them and allow students the space to create. Anything weeded is up for grabs, including comic books and even old test administrator manuals.
Buying seasonal items to decorate the library can be costly, but not if you have weeded books, markers, and twigs! In the fall, take weeded paperbacks and make pumpkins that can be dressed up with color and accent items like ribbons or glitter. Hot glue a twig on top and you have quick and easy decorations made by students to show off and display in the library.
There are also months with special significance. For example, April is National Poetry Month. Students are directed on how to create blackout poetry using a page taken at random from a weeded book. I get involved myself not only during the making, but also to help along and when they hit a snag. Students have come up with some beautiful artwork doing this while appreciating poetry as an art form.
In mystery movies and books, have you seen where criminals send notes from words cut out of magazines? With little effort, you and your students can cut out words from discarded magazines to put in a small box. Use paper, glue, markers, and the box of cutout words to create poetry.
Other inspiring ways the library and students have used weeded books in the library:
- Cut out leaves to string and decorate the library;
- Background for bulletin boards;
- Making Christmas trees;
- Using them for origami;
- Book folding to make 3-D words come out of the covers.
With weeded books, there are limitless possibilities. Whenever I need inspiration for a new idea, I go to Pinterest and create a board with great ideas. Instead of dreading the weeding process, think of ways to creatively archive and let the fun begin!
See Naomi's Pinterest board here: https://www.pinterest.com/naomibates/what-to-do-with-old-books/