Since a board member of the Friends of the South End Library discovered the potential of the South End library's beautiful large windows as a community exhibit space earlier this year, the branch has showcased displays of whimsical kites (Throw Caution to the Wind); wire sculptures by local artist Will Corcoran based on themes from Edgar Allan Poe and the Grimm Brothers; summery girls dresses patterned after children's book characters that are the trademark of the local enterprise Smiling Button; and, currently on exhibit, an informative representation of groundwater and filtration issues as they relate to the award-winning Library Park solar-powered LightWell installations. Coming up next is a dual display in the Tremont Street window of the image of the book itself, one by a local ceramicist who used to work in publishing; the other, the town librarian of a small public library in New Hampshire who wanted to do something more creative with the to-be-discarded books, and learned how to fold them into paper sculptures. (The local connection is that a FOSEL board member also volunteers at the NH library.)
Lori Pease was for many years the design director for a local literary publishing house, Zoland Books, but has since worked with the image of the book in clay, using the book's texture, form and color as her inspiration. Pease's clay books can be hung on the wall, used as coasters or book ends, or arranged in decorative groupings. Veronica Mueller, the town librarian in Warren, NH, began to practice folding books after a seeing a picture of it on the Internet. She has given classes to adults and children, and folds books upon requests for special occasions. They make unique gifts for friends and family who want names or messages folded into the books, she explains. "The only tools required are old books without value, a pencil, a ruler, graph paper, and depending upon the design, a bone folder. There is no cutting or gluing involved," she says.
The Local Focus initiative, formerly called Window Take-over, is meant to use the library windows as a showcase for local artists, non-profits and entrepreneurs and has to be compatible with the library's mission to serve and inform the community. All inquiries are most welcome and should be directed to Anne Smart, head librarian of the branch. The Friends of the South End Library are finalizing simple guidelines, which will be available at the library as soon as they are completed. Price lists of any items for sale are at the circulation desk. Thirty percent of Lori Pease's ceramics will be rebated to the South End library to support its programs.