Lending Department 1881
The Library of Lost Books
The Pavilion, Library of Birmingham, 2013

This project, led by Susan Kruse, took place with and within Birmingham Library at a dramatic (and controversial time of evolution) in its history. As the old building disappeared and its contents were rehoused (or pulped), what remained was transferred to the new building. This building is the largest public cultural space in Europe and the largest regional library in Europe. Antique books saved from the pulping machine were sent at random to participants. I was sent the 1881 Lending Catalogue of Books from the Richmond Library. As I opened the fragile book, it happened to split (significantly) between listings for ‘god’ and ‘gold’. I realised the catalogue listings spanned an interesting time period where the structuring of knowledge and belief was shifting from the religious to the scientific. My outcome was a series of cards derived from titles of the books in the listings. The cards fitted back into the broken book - the stack, papers and curation changeable and interchangeable. Library of Lost Books