I don’t know if it’s holiday magic, the spirit of the season, the creativity of librarians, or all of the above, but this is the time of year when ordinary stacks of books turn in to book trees in libraries everywhere. Librarians ponder which sets are the right shade of green, which title should be featured at the top, how many books you need so it’s tall enough. Just as every tree in the forest is unique, so is every library book tree. They can be elegant or fun, statuesque or miniature, colorful or the more traditional green. They can be library fundraisers or a sustainable option to more traditional Christmas trees. The trees can be freestanding or built on shelves. They can be stacks of books or intricately folded pages.
Here is a wonderful collection of some of the book trees gracing law libraries this holiday season.
Dee J Kelly Law Library, Texas A&M University School of Law. Photo courtesy of Joan Stringfellow.
Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC, Jackson, MS. Photo courtesy of Lee Ann Robertson.Constructed using CJS and the Mississippi Code Annotated.
Supreme Court of Ohio. Photo courtesy of Erin Waltz.Constructed from volumes of the National Union Catalog. Decorated with old library cards and a microfiche garland. Topper made of pages from the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Official Reports.
The Supreme Court of Ohio Library also constructed a fireplace using Page’s Ohio Revised Codes. Photo courtesy of Erin Waltz.
2012 book tree at Phelps Dunbar, LLP in New Orleans. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Dabbs. Ornaments are pictures of the firm’s attorney; the managing partner is the star at the top.
University of South Dakota, McCusick law Library. Photo courtesy of Sarah Kammer. This year the library hosted the NALSA student group’s annual toy drive near the tree.
James Hunter III Law Library, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Camden, NJ. Photo courtesy of Kristin Schroth
University of Nebraska College of Law Schmid Law Library. Photo courtesy of Marcia Dority Baker. Constructed from books that were boxed on a loading dock, waiting to be recycled. “It takes more books than it looks.” Brian Striman.
Tulane University law School. Photo courtesy of Amanda Watson. Constructed of Tulane Law Journal and LC Subject Headings.
Franklin County Law Library, Columbus, OH. Photo courtesy of Angela Baldree
Alaska Court System, Fairbanks. Photo courtesy of Susan Falk. Tree constructed by law clerks.
Beeson Law Library, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University. Photo courtesy of Grace Simms.
San Diego County Public Law Library. Photo courtesy of Benita Ghura. Constructed from 672 superseded books.
St. Louis University Vincent C. Immel Law Library. Photo courtesy of Corie Dugas.
UNT Dallas College of Law. Photo courtesy of Edward Hart.
New Mexico Supreme Court Library. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wilson. Tree constructed from about-to-be recycled New Mexico Reports and Federal Rules Digest.
New Mexico Supreme Court Library. Wreath made from reporter pages. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wilson.
O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Holly Riccio.
Elf on a Shelf and Librarian Action Figure, Nancy Pearl, research whether Santa is real at O’Melveny & Myers.
Baker, Manock and Jensen, PC in Fresno, CA. Photo courtesy of Lori Sanders. This tree is constructed mostly from USCCAN with US Tax Court Reports sprinkled around the top. The tree is 6 feet tall and contains 374 books.
Supreme Court of Alabama Law Library. Photo courtesy of Tim Lewis.
If you’re inspired to build your own book tree, there are a couple of resources to get you started. Kate Krause from the Texas Medical Center Library has written an illustrated article, How to Build a Library Bookmas Tree. There is also a youtube video, How to Make Your Very Own Christmas Tree Out of Books. Or if you’re inspired beyond Christmas, see Mari Cheney and Rob Truman’s article in WestPac News (beginning on p. 5) about the Boley Law Library’s “book art” endeavors encompassing Christmas and beyond.
Photo courtesy of Ed Wrzesien.
The staff of the William J. Jameson Law Library wishes you happy holidays. Our book tree this year was constructed from Halsbury’s Laws of England and the Revised Code of Washington. It is decorated with glittery snowflakes and battery-powered candles. The tree topper was handcrafted from a copy of Educating Lawyers.
The Jameson Law Library blog will be taking a break until January 30. Look for us in the new year.