Art Inspiration: Salvaged Library Catalog Cards

Mar 18, 2010 by

I apologize that the Week of Library Card Catalogs will need to be extended into a two-week affair.  Amidst my son’s two month vaccine appointment that made my heart hurt, along with practicing Elimination Communication and catching his first smiles and babbles, where did the week go?

However, before the week ends, let’s explore how library catalog cards have been the inspiration for many works of art.  In 2004, when the University of Iowa retired its card catalog, a group of librarians came together to honor the cards, and cARTalog was born.  Impressively, the dedicated cARTalog team was able to salvage 1 million catalog cards — sending them to artists and new adopting homes.  From its galleries, please enjoy some of my favorite art pieces, each inspired by repurposed library catalog cards.

Created by Marlene Russum Scott, this display box is an ode to the endangered species “Charta Catalogue.”  While this was “one of the most recognized birds in modern history, typically found in quiet metropolitan locations,” this species’ flock is almost “completely destroyed in the early 21st century by Info Hawks.”

This piece by Laura Gunnip is entitled “All, extraordinary, scenic, society” — which are four words all extracted from the book titles on every catalog card utilized in the creation.

Created by Kristin Alana Baum, this piece entitled “Actias Luna, Refuge Prayer I” was inspired by the “relationship between a card’s title and the subject” and how ideas are interconnected.  According to the artist, “the cards become symbols….the inner journeys we take when we release ourselves into the world of paper and words.”

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  1. Only till my natural death could I tell which of what I have been doing is right or wrong, so now I have to try to do well in everything, and then wait to die a natural death.

  2. Thanks for sparking my thinking cap. Sometimes I get so much in a rut that I just feel like a record.

  3. These are wonderful! Thank you for finding and sharing.

  4. Hi, I was searching on google for art inspiration and I found your site – so many great ideas! Thanks!

  5. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed

    reading.Nice blog,I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  6. That’s awesome!!!!! You got a good internship! the fact that you enjoy your work you will least likely fall into what other call “burn-out”. You see your internship as natural process of learning and small pellet mill that was very great! However, if that experience doesn’t turn as job opportunity don’t think of it as invaluable for your future because that learning can be used in many ways.

  7. very nice blog.

  8. This a good info, thank you for sharing with us.

  9. I had one and only thing to do for her legal then-I immediately put a different pair of slippers on her worn feet as she had asked me to do.

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