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“Be Kind to Books Club” Posters Come to the National Book Festival

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The following is a guest post by Mary Oey in the Conservation Division at the Library of Congress.

The Be Kind to Books Club posters are back! And the first 100 folks to come to the Preservation table in the Library of Congress Pavilion at the National Book Festival will get one free!

The new 'Be Kind to Books Club' bookmarks. Designed by Lucy Jakub.
The new ‘Be Kind to Books Club’ bookmarks. Designed by Lucy Jakub.
If you can’t make it early, not to worry – you won’t walk away empty-handed (well, unless attendance numbers this year blow us all away, who knows?). Preservation staff will have over 6,000 matching bookmarks and still more preservation resources to give away. Not to mention the most priceless freebie of all — advice from Library conservators on what to do with that treasured fading photograph of your grandparents’ wedding. We’ve got you covered. There’ll be book, paper, and photograph conservators, and if your question is about something else, we’ll point you in the right direction.

For those of you whose childhood local public library did not have a copy of the original Be Kind to Books Club poster, the posters that the Library will have at the Festival are a fresh new series designed by Lucy Jakub, a 2015 Library of Congress Junior Fellow in the Conservation Division.

“Be kind to books club Are you a member?” Artist, Arlington Gregg. Chicago : Made by Illinois W.P.A. Art Project, [between 1936 and 1940].
My charge to her at the start of the summer: design posters with a library preservation message targeted at kids especially for use in schools and public libraries. But the posters couldn’t be too big (they’re 11 x 17″) – we wanted to put the image files online for free downloading so libraries, schools, and households could easily print them on their own. And they had to highlight items from the Library’s collections.

Lucy enthusiastically took on this challenge and ran with it all the way to what you see here. She was inspired by the work of WPA artist Arlington Gregg and also by the Library’s digitized Classics on On the way to reminding us that “Books don’t bend backward!” and to “Read with clean hands!”, she also learned more than I think she expected about preservation, copyright, public domain, artists, authors, and the Library of Congress.

You’ll learn about all those things and more, too, at the National Book Festival. And maybe you’ll get a poster. Or a bookmark. At the very least, inspiration. See you there!


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