A free program at Aztec Public Library provides residents a new way to channel their imaginations by turning books into artistic creations.
Swamped by a storeroom full of books that are beyond repair or contain out-of-date information, the library began their "Altered Books" program to put the backlog into a new kind of circulation.
Librarian Karen Louviere got the idea for the program from a book, of course.
"I came across a title called 'Altered Books 101' and was intrigued," Louviere said. "One piece the book featured was a miniature bookmobile made from old books and I thought that creating something new with them would be fun."
Louviere and Angela Watkins, the library's program director, found they had titles on craft activity, gathered them together and did some research.
"We looked online for other titles and saw some great examples online at (photo sharing website) Pintrest," Louviere said.
Inspired by many of the creations she found, Louviere has made a wall clock using a book called 'World Enough in Time' and a lamp using old Encyclopedia Britannicas.
The library hosted its first meeting for Altered Books on Jan. 3. That made for fun creative play, social atmosphere, coffee and snacks and sharing of ideas.
"The biggest part is the socializing and sharing, kind of like a coffee social club with a lot of creative activity thrown in," Watkins said.
Keeping the books alive and out of the landfill makes the artistic effort special, Watkins said. And their potential as gifts, wall art, or functional objects is a nice result for a falling-apart book that was previously collecting dust in a storeroom.
"It opened our eyes to the possibilities," Watkins said. "We provide everything from duct tape, gems and stones, wall clock parts, paints and brushes, and our group transformed the books they chose into keepsake boxes, inspirational quotes with family photographs, portfolios, journals and other amazing pieces."
While the library provides the art supplies and snacks, people are free to bring in their own media or materials to use, Watkins said.
The library decided to meet twice each month to continue the fun of the first two meetings.
"If you love books the way we do, it's a great chance to let your imagination go wild."
Altered Books group meets the first and third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Aztec Public Library. For more information, call (505) 334-7695.