Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Library Phantom

A mysterious figure lurks...
It's National Libraries Day! Who would have guessed? (A: You, if you read this blog last month when I got the date wrong!)

In celebration, I'm going to tell you about the Edinburgh Library 'Phantom'.

Books are just my cup of tea!
Last March the first of a series of 'book sculptures' was found in Scotland's Poetry Library.

Three months later a mini cinema was exposed in the Edinburgh Filmhouse, then a tiny paper gramophone turned up at the National Library and a dragon’s egg was discovered hatching on the window sill at Edinburgh's Storytelling Centre.

Lost in a good book
 During the city's summer book festival, two more intricate artworks appeared and then the Central Library received one of their own.  There's been a pair of fluffy gloves, a cap, a cakestand and a 'poet tree.'

These intricately-crafted pieces are left anonymously but sometimes have notes supporting libraries and the arts. All they reveal is that the perpetrator is a woman (and a woman fond of ellipses, which narrows it down a bit) who loves words, books, libraries, ideas.......

The perpetrator has never been identified... but if I catch you in my library with a pair of scissors you'll 'feel the back of my hand'! (and not in a genteel, strokey way

- The Library Phantom Returns!
- More pictures by Chris Scott


  1. I hate to see books vandalised. And,it's a practice not restricted to any one group. I've caught university students actually removing pages with a craft knife.

    However, I'd prefer to see a book turned into a sculpture, than end up in a skip.

    1. It was pouring down here today - the number of people who came in with soaking wet books. Wouldn't you just pop them inside your coat ... or, I don't know, one of those new-fangled carrier bag devices? No respect!

  2. who says it a woman!? I left mine in the back ally in Birkenhead Library and no-ones picked up on it. opps. did i just admit it was me :-0

  3. i love a good sculpture me

    1. Watch this space then; I've been meaning for a while to do some posts about 'altered books'.

  4. It’s very clever stuff, and as Martin says, better that than the shredder.

    1. To subvert and paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt: 'Better read than shred'.