The Bellaire library celebrates its 70th anniversary with an art book competition


For 70 years, the municipal library of Bellaire has been a constant and important pillar of the community of Bellaire. To celebrate the library’s anniversary, the Friends of the Bellaire Library nonprofit is hosting its first-ever transformational book art competition “Bookish”.

Contest participants are encouraged to turn a book into a work of art. The theme of the competition is “bookish”, such as something related to reading or a strong interest in books. The contest started on August 23 and Friends will be accepting entries until September 24. The winners will be announced on October 2.

There are no rules for how participants turn the book into a work of art, but entries cannot exceed 12 inches wide, 12 inches long, and 18 inches high. The contest is “open to everyone” according to the contest rules, and people of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate.

Participants will receive a book that has been designated for recycling by FOBL upon receipt of a completed registration form, or the participant can use their own book. The rules also only provide for original works of art; no images or copyrighted material is permitted.

“The people of Bellaire have such fond memories of their time in the library,” said Andréa Elhers, president of the FOBL. “I think the library has a special place in everyone’s heart in Bellaire because you can go there for so many things, not just books. It offers something for people of all ages.

The Bellaire Library was founded in 1951 by the Bellaire Women’s Civic Club. The Civic Club created a committee that organized a community-wide book drive, selected and cataloged the books, and presented the library to the city government. The library was accepted and housed in an 18 foot by 20 foot room in the town’s community building. Five women from the Civic Club were elected to form the first “Friends of the Library” board of directors.

The library moved to its current building at 5111 rue Jessamine in 1962.

Elhers, who is running for Bellaire city council in the upcoming November 2 election, says the competition is a way for the organization to safely celebrate the library’s anniversary without potentially spreading COVID-19. The library remained operational throughout the pandemic, although in-person services were restricted during the height of COVID-19.

Elhers noted that library staff took advantage of the restrictions by going through every book in the library and removing damaged ones and redoing their entire inventory.

“They were making lemons with lemonade because they were doing their job and giving value to the city,” Elhers said. “The library has been a rock throughout the pandemic, it has never stopped functioning. “

The library reopened for in-person services and computer use on April 6, 2021.

For more information on the competition, visit fotbl.org/bookish.

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