part of the ongoing series summer library
Oct. 29 - Nov. 13, 2021
Georgie Devereux writes, reads, and lives among piles of books. Currently an art teacher and children’s librarian, she has helped reshuffle libraries at SFMOMA, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Swiss Institute, and beyond. She grew up three miles from Street Road Artists Space and lives in Philadelphia.
See full details about the Summer Library project, including other Librarians' work here.
The Last Library
Between October 29 and November 14, the Summer Library will disappear.
Further information to follow.
For there is a wind or ghost of a wind
in all books echoing the life
there, a high wind that fills the tubes
of the ear until we think we hear a wind,
to lead the mind away.
— William Carlos Williams' "Library" via Susan Howe’s Spontaneous Particulars: The Telepathy of Archives
WRAPPING UP THE LIBRARY
Inspired by Judith Scott (1943-2005)
A companion project of The Last Library,
by Georgie Devereux, Caroline Lathan-Stiefel, and
4th Grade Students at Upland Country Day School
Judith Scott, an artist institutionalized for much of her life due to Down’s Syndrome and deafness, became known for wrapping everyday objects in string, yarn, fabric, and other materials. After my co-teacher, artist Caroline Lathan-Stiefel, suggested we introduce our students to Scott’s work, discarded library books seemed the perfect objects to wrap.
I was in the process of planning my Street Road installation “The Last Library,” and we asked the students what they might include if they were to create such a space. Their answers ranged from “all the books ever” to “crystals and gems” to “the whole Earth sliced in half” to “nothing.” Then Caroline and I introduced the prompt—what if the library were to include wrapped books?
The students each chose a book that stood out to them and proceeded to wrap it in wool, yarn, ribbon, felt, bubble wrap, and anything else we could find. We talked about what it meant to bundle objects in this way—how the act felt like one of love, of protection, of preserving something from the past for an unknown future. One student wrote the names of close friends, and a spell to protect them, on scraps of paper and included them among the padded layers.
As we swaddled titles like Charlotte’s Web, I Survived Pompeii, and Tutankhamun’s Tomb,we compared the process to wrapping mummies or wounds or anything fragile—a cocooning, maybe, of what would eventually flame into color and flap away. There was something sacred about it, or ritualistic, this preparing well-worn volumes—along with their histories and contents—for nexts.