Creative Use of Library Space

Artwork from Pritzker Legal Research Center

There is no denying it, we’ve all groaned at this phrase at one point or another: “We’re going to start a shifting project.” Rather than groaning, however, artist Mark Frazer turned a large weeding and shifting project into a chance to flex his creative muscles and create this sculpture, which he named “Liber Dentata: Watch in the Woods.”

Through the tunnel I. “Liber Dentata: Watch in the Woods,” by Mark Frazer.

Mark is the Collection Management Supervisor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker Legal Research Center. When shifting, he always tries to ensure that there is at least one reading shelf per aisle. This time, he took advantage of a particularly long stretch of shelving to create a tunnel running through the entire section.

In a blog post about this project, Mark said, “I have done anywhere from 6 to 10 shifts and often thought of them as standing sculptures of sorts. Functionality decides when we need a shift, but I always find myself paying attention to the ‘aesthetics’ of each shift . . . how the books were arranged and how they look.”

Through the Tunnel II.

The tunnel is located in a somewhat hidden area of the library, so you sort of have to stumble upon the tunnel to discover it. This probably leads many to wonder, as was Mark’s intent, “How did this get here? Was it intentional?”

Mark describes the tunnel as a “conceptual mandala of sorts,” explaining that he spent many years drawing mandalas and that this is a sculptural version, with the tunnel as the center and the books and shelves as the radii.

Through the Tunnel III.

Kaitlin Gaffney was a former Library Assistant at Pritzker Legal Research Center. She is now a Library Specialist and Stacks Supervisor at Emory University’s law library in Atlanta, Georgia.