Books Become Art at Cerro Coso Library

By Julie Cornett, Cerro Coso Community College

In our digital age, libraries have seen a precipitous decline in print book usage. The “Book Art” exhibit on display at Cerro Coso library speaks to this shift and re-imagines the transformational power of books. The Library department has a long and fruitful history of collaboration with the department of Visual and Perming Arts and has showcased student artwork, including large-scale pieces, prominently in the building for all to admire. The “Book Art” exhibit, however, took the collaboration to a new level. Students enrolled in the Sculpture course visited the book “morgue” over the course of several weeks to select titles for their sculptures. The library does its best to find new homes for weeded items but is not always successful and the morgue is the last stop before these dustiest of tomes get recycled. 

book pages turned into a person sitting atop a book

The students spent several weeks breathing new life into the old books and the magnificent sculptures that emerged are now on display in the library foyer through the end of the semester. The students used a variety of techniques to transform the books, including collage, paper folding, and origami. One student’s sculpture, titled “Escaped”, portrays a figure with curled hair made from book pages emerging from an open book and wearing a dress fabricated entirely out of the fabric of an old clothbound book. Another student painstakingly folded book pages to resemble the shape of a mouth in a sculpture titled “Unuttered Words”. The exhibit has garnered a lot of interest from library patrons and several students have inquired about taking the Sculpture class in the future. 

book art