the story

The Library of Lost Books is a collection of old, discarded and damaged library books which artist and LoLB curator, Susan Kruse, rescued from certain death-by-pulping. Because life is pretty hard for library books....



They suffer terribly from dog-eared pages, broken spines, battered covers, unregulated scribblings and margin annotations. Library books can have a short lifespan.

Elderly or damaged library books that are still in print may get replaced...then there are the books no longer in regular use, those that have sat on shelves in the stacks for decades and never been checked out...

...new books are being published and bought by libraries everyday, so those old, unread tomes also find their way into the discard bin. Birmingham Library kindly let Susan rescue a bunch of their elderly, unwanted, and battered books.She had to travel deep into the stacks and rummage around in bins but she found treasure. Old books and music scores with beautiful paper, interesting old bindings, engravings, old photographs and letterpress printed pages.

Their spines were broken, their pages speckled,  but Susan loved them. She figured other people would love them too. Each rescued book has been sent to a selected UK artist to be re-made as a work of art.


The re-worked books will come together as The Library of Lost Books. They will be exhibited together as part of the opening festival for the new Library of Birmingham from the 6th of November 2013 and will go on to form a travelling exhibition around the UK.