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Integrating Art with Books on Library Shelves

Updated on December 18, 2016
juneaukid profile image

Richard F. Fleck is author of two dozen books, his latest being Desert Rims to Mountains High and Thoreau & Muir Among the Native Americans.

Inuit Art and Books
Inuit Art and Books | Source
Native American Art and Books
Native American Art and Books | Source
Irish Art and Books
Irish Art and Books | Source

Integrating Relevant Art with Books on Library Shelves

As I approach my mid-seventies, I have been gradually weeding out our personal library of over 2,000 volumes. Why? I have given many of my books to my three children for their families to enjoy, and some of the books have become so tattered and worn that I have thrown them away, some have been sold for a bit of pocket money, and regretfully some of my books are no longer of interest to me and so I have donated them to public libraries.

Weeding Out of Unused Books

As a result of this weeding-out process, my collection has become much more specific: Native Americana (including signed editions of Momaday, Silko, Erdrich and others), Natural history (including inscribed editions of Sigurd Olson and N.J. Berrill), Irish literature and contemporary American fiction. But there remained gapping holes on the shelves. What could be done?

Integrated, not separate art displays

In various areas of our house, we had in storage or on display Inuit stone carvings, Native American artifacts, and Irish souvenirs and photos. I decided to integrate books with relevant art objects that directly relate to the content of the books. Between Inuit books (including original works by Inuit authors), I have placed soapstone carvings and photographs. Between books relating to Native American cultures in United States, I have placed a red-stone peace pipe, sweet grass and a watercolor painting of Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde. And lastly, between the writings of Sean O'Casey, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, John Millington Synge and others, I have placed Beleek china, my photograph of an Irish thatched cottage and other objects like striped stones from a beach on the Dingle Peninusula.

As a result, I believe that I have married together literature and art within the shelves of our personal library in such a way that there is a mutual enhancement that evokes profound memories.


If one has to weed out his large library for various reasons, he can very nicely fill in the gaps of space on the shelves with relevant art work that relates directly to the surrounding books. One great advantage of art with books is that you can locate books in subject areas far more quickly See also my hub "Our One Hundred-Year Old Home."

© 2011 Richard Francis Fleck


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    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thanks, Dolores. They do tend to be mind-centering.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Hi Richard - what a great idea. Not only does this make the shelves look more interesting in breaking up the space, but the related materials must help to find a book.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thanks, Hello, hello.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      A wonderful hub and a great job well done. It looks great and was a superb idea.


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