In early 2001, San Francisco Public Library staff began finding vandalized books shoved under shelves, hidden throughout the Main Library. Ultimately over 600 torn and sliced books, on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender topics, women’s issues and HIV/AIDS, were deemed beyond repair and withdrawn from the Library’s collection. Rather than discard the damaged books, the Library distributed them to interested community members in the hope of creating art. The wide variety of artistic responses to this hate crime resulted in “Reversing Vandalism,” an exhibition of over 200 original works of art, displayed in the Main Library from January 31 through May 2, 2004. We invite you to visit the online exhibition by using the links below.
The Story of Reversing Vandalism
"Reversing Vandalism", Jim Van Buskirk, Hormel Center, Free for All: Inside the Public Library, October 21, 2014 (YouTube) 3:17 min.
Reversing Vandalism, Not In Our Town, January 8, 2010 (YouTube) 4:10 min.
Exhibition Review, Richard Meyer, Queer Caucus for Art, May 2004
Reversing Vandalism, Jim Van Buskirk, Common Ground, May 2004 (PDF)