Art Inspiration: Salvaged Library Catalog Cards
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.”