Recently a fellow Law Library employee brought these amazing book sculptures to our attention:
There are lots of other examples out there of astounding works of art made from books and non-literary uses for books (we especially love the Delft University library information desk made from books!)
As evidenced by the Association of College and Research Libraries, “the number of physical items in many libraries is declining” and libraries continue the trend of “expanding their virtual space. ” Not to mention the nature of published legal information being constantly updated. There’s no shortage of books weeded from law library collections that could find a bright future serving a completely different purpose.
At least one person agrees: artist Derrick Method uses legal volumes discarded from the Butler University Library to make furniture and accessories that would make a fine addition to any law office. You can read more about Mr. Method’s work here.
If you’re wondering if there are copyright issues involved in reusing books, that would depend upon factors such as effect upon the original work’s value, and whether the resulting work would be considered a derivative work or a parody [One example of artwork copyright issues is the “Barbie in a Blender” lawsuit ( 353 F.3d 792 )].
For a fabulous, comprehensive resource on copyright issues, check out the Standford University Libraries Copyright and Fair Use page, where you’ll find laws, summaries of cases and lots more info.