Nine book spines from a page of Expired

Check Out These Beautiful Portraits of Well-Loved Library Books

Have you ever wondered what happens to the library books that are checked out too much? Literally enjoyed so much by people that they become unusable? Kerry Mansfield answers those questions with her art book Expired, which serves as a necrology, of sorts, for books that have maxed out their welcome on library shelves.

The pages of Expired showcase worn out books that libraries from all over the country have tossed out after deeming them too damaged for continued use.



Page from Expired picturing Time For Fairytales Old and New

Image Via Hyper Allergic


Image of discarded Shoulder the Sky book

Image Via Hyper Allergic


This collection also makes a point to show checkout cards filled out to the max. About the process of deciding what makes a discarded book worthy of archival, Mansfield said, “After culling through thousands of books each one was chosen for specific characteristics that best display the love poured into library books over their years on the stacks. Currently over 180 ex-library books have been individually photographed.”


This collection of photographs is surely to be appreciated by book, art, and anthropology lovers alike. One look will fill you with nostalgia for a system that is changing right before our eyes. True to the nature of its subject matter, Expired charmingly features its own checkout card. I would love to present this on my own coffee table. Mansfield states on her website that the remainder of the collection, which will round out the 180 books with the remaining seventy-five, will be released in the future.


Featured Image Via Kerry Mansfield