upcycled-journal-from-vintage-library-bookI went to a handmade craft fair this weekend, and discovered a  new world of journals made from vintage library books. The ones that I bought — for holiday gifts, if I can bear to part with them — include the original pocket for the library check-out card. Oh my, they are so sweet! I purchased my journals from Moe O’Hara, recycle artist extraordinaire from Burlington, Vermont, and her attention to detail and quality seems very high.  She also makes upcycled journals from Monopoly,  Scrabble and Chutes & Ladders board games. The journals range from $15 – $22 each. Check out her “wee books” also — teensy journals with covers made from Monopoly cards and the like. You can keep your shopping list on Park Place. Moe’s etsy shop is pretty wiped out — but I am sure if you email her, she can help you out with any last-minute holiday shopping requests.

  1. Cody says:

    I have met Moe a few times since we both reside in Burlington and I have asked her the same questions you are all concerned about. I recall her saying most of the books she uses are tattered or in disrepair, so she recycles the covers. I am not exactly sure of her process for choosing books to recycle but she doesn’t cut up every good condition book im pretty sure.

  2. Jen says:

    I am torn by this as well. I love the idea of the journals, but am also disturbed by the idea of old books being dismantled when they could be enjoyed by somebody. Old children’s books are the best! I always get a thrill when I recognize a cover of a book I remember checking out at my elementary school’s library. There’s a fleeting yet pleasing rush of memories that such a recognition evokes.

    I too have seen these journals and have been tempted to buy them, though. The idea is great, but most sentimental people will feel a tug of disappointment that a book once loved by someone (or many) is no more.

  3. Robin says:

    I should also add…
    Since printing techniques and paper stock are totally different today than they were decades ago, vintage children’s books (including old library copies) cannot be replicated… not to mention that most of them are out of print and will never be produced again.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Oh goodness. I do so hate controversy on the blog. I totally understand the point of view of book collectors….

  4. Robin says:

    This is a very cool notebook, and a good use for damaged books. But since I collect old children’s books and have amassed a serious library at this point, my stomach dropped a little bit when I saw the cover of Ginger Pye that was used. As MidCMitzi wrote, Eleanor Estes books are treasures! While Kindle is great for mass produced paperbacks, i feel like the tactile nature of reading a book to a child and letting them turn the pages and touch the pictures is missed. Children’s books are art to me so I really hope the original was too far gone to save.

    1. pam kueber says:

      I found a Ginger Pye hardback circa 1951 on ebay. The BIN is $14.99.

      Seems like there might be an opportunity to make a distinction regarding this subject. Some books are indeed classics, like this one, and have an intrinsic value equal to or greater than anything you can repurpose the book into. So — do not mess with them.

      Other books – perhaps minimal value. Better to repurpose?

  5. Eucritta says:

    Oh, no! Every time I see these pop up on a search on Etsy, I wonder how many books I loved as a child and now want to find have been recycled this way. I’ve found enough on my list in dime or free bins, to know that not everyone treasures them … and just having them to re-read IS integrating them usefully into my life.

  6. MidCMitzi says:

    I take back my previous comment. With the current concern about lead in children’s books and toys, maybe this IS a better use of the book after all. In any case, “Ginger Pye”, and all of Eleanor Estes books, are wonderful stories and I would encourage anyone to check them out. They are available in new, reprinted copies too. Gah, I really hate being negative, can you tell?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Mitzi, I thought of the concern also about ‘destroying’ old books. Yes, it is a concern. But… maybe there are SO MANY out there … and all books seem to be moving online via apps like Kindle … that this would be a good way of honoring them. I bought these as gifts, but also was thinking that I would keep at least one. I tend to use these as notebooks and thought… when I am through, I can replace the pages – and keep using the outside. BTW, I also got into the artform of “altered books” recently – I love those, too. But as you have noted, with the caveat of being careful not to destroy a really treasured, valuable book. This subject is a bit of a tough one. But I think the core idea is: honoring these books and integrating them more usefully into our life…

  7. MidCMitzi says:

    I try to never post anything negative in comments, but oh no! That’s a copy of “Ginger Pye” by Eleanor Estes in your picture. Just because a book is discarded from a library doesn’t mean it’s not still readable. I HOPE this book was in poor condition, because it’s a wonderful story that many children, and adults, would have enjoyed otherwise. Sorry for being a down note, but this makes me sad!

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