Instructables

Research Library Bookends

When I am not binding ebooks for Instructables, I can be found at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency library in Oakland. I am helping them get their archives in order and to digitize some stuff, but mostly I make sure that everyone feels comfortable throwing out the duplicate copies of "The Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency" and "Crime and Delinquency" and "Criminal Justice Statistics 1992". (For those of you interested in how research helps fight poverty, which in turn helps fight crime, check out the following light reading from the NCCD president: http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/ExclusiveCommentary.aspx?id=c46288d5-485e-4c5c-a3f9-d17a65bcbe3b)

I figured that I could bring these two worlds together with a DIY library project. NCCD will get some sweet custom bookends, and librarians all over the world will thrill at the opportunity to upcycle those ubiquitous metal bookends that never match. Win-win, folks.

The design challenge was this: the NCCD library is in a dim hallway. The organization does prison and child protective services research with the aim of reforming the criminal justice system (for the better, as you'd assume, but the name of the organization somewhat ambiguously selected "on" as the preposition for self-description.) I have been weeding their collection, so there is some empty space on their shelves just waiting for some pizzazz. Well, I'll bring some pizzazz. I'll bring pizzazz in a recycled plastic bag, possibly double-bagged if I am concerned that the pizzazz has sharp corners.

My first idea was to dress a Barbie or some other doll in stereotypical black and white striped prison outfits, perhaps with a ball and chain added for effect. Then glue the doll to a bent metal bookend so it looks as though the doll is being weighed down by the pressure of a shelf full of delinquency research. But that didn't really send the right message. I need something sober and serious and brightly colored without seeming gaudy. (Gaudy is hard to pull off when you're interviewing parolees about recidivism and drug abuse.)

Because the library is mostly used as a backdrop for photo ops*, I thought I could brighten it up with a set of white bookends spelling out NCCD. Spread over four shelves, these will stand out without being unduly showy. Subdued but apparent. Like a stifled sneeze that might take place whilst digging through typewritten grant proposals submitted during the Carter administration. The white should be bright enough to draw attention to the shelves, and, who knows, maybe someone will be sufficiently enticed to pick up a volume for a purpose other than raising their monitor to an ergonomically-appropriate level.



*Yeah. I know. We're working on it.
 
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Weird. My school library and about everyone else I know uses those bookends the opposite way. The long end goes under the books, not the short one.
(not sure if that made sense)
wilgubeast (author)  inkstainedpapers2 years ago
That definitely makes sense. The letters are too big to fit on the narrow ledge, so I had to flip them around. If I were to do this project again, I'd use an epoxy to hold the letter in place so it didn't need quite so much overhang onto the bit of the bookend that slides beneath the books. These won't hold up your dictionaries or any other heavy reference books, but they look good on the shelves. Form over function, in this case.
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