Library to display works of book art

DULUTH - A red and silver model train plows through "The Story of American Railroad," leaving a spew of shredded pages in its wake.

A yellow model train bursts out of a tunnel on the cover of "The Banshee Train."

No library books were harmed in the making of the diorama created by Lawrenceville resident Dennis Calbreath, which took first place in Gwinnett County Public Library's Altered Book Contest. Altered books are old books that have been recycled by creative means into works of art.

Of the 25 contest entries that were received, 15 are on display at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth.

Entries were judged by Nancy Stanbery-Kellam, executive director for the GCPL, three staff members at the Hudgens Center, including Teresa Osborn, interim director, and Angela Nichols, director of education, and a representative from Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister's office.

"We originally were only going to show the awarded pieces, which would have only been three pieces, but they were all so wonderful," Nichols said during an opening reception for the exhibit Thursday. "It was really difficult to pick the winners because they were all so great."

Calbreath, a landscape architect, decided to create an entry after seeing his wife work on her book. Sue Calbreath, who is GCPL's division director for events and outreach, had suggested the altered book contest as a communitywide activity for Love Your Library Week, a celebration of Gwinnett County's public libraries that ran April 12 through 18.

"I was making mine and all of a sudden he liked the idea and he said he was going to make one. I said, 'Well you don't need to bother, you can't beat me.' And he did," she laughs.

Sue Calbreath's altered book - the title "Time and Time Again" made into a clock - took third place in the contest.

"As librarians, we don't like to throw anything away," she said, "so this is a way to give (books) a different purpose and a different use."

Michelle Slupski's altered book titled "Family Timbre" took second place in the contest.

Dennis Calbreath was awarded $200 for his altered book submission.

SideBar: If you go

· What: Gwinnett County Public Library Altered Book Contest winners

· When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

· Where: Hudgens Center for the Arts, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Building 300, Duluth

· Cost: $5

· For more information: Call 770-623-6002 or visit www.artsgwinnett.org