Library lets cardholders take home prints of paintings

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — If you’ve ever wanted to hang beautiful prints of art throughout your home but thought you could never afford it, the Elkhart Public Library has the answer.

Not only will you be able to display beautiful print pieces, but you’ll be able to rotate your items based on personal preference, coordinating with the seasons or simply a specific theme you like.

The library has brought back its art prints program from the ’70s, allowing card-holding patrons of the Elkhart and Goshen public libraries to check out framed prints of art just like books or CDs.

People have been checking out art prints since the program’s start until it briefly closed a couple of years ago, said Jeanne Glanders, manager of popular materials at the Elkhart Public Library, 300 S. Second St. Previously, there were huge leaves of prints to flip through, but when the library reorganized its space, staff decided to go digital, Glanders said.

It took about a year to photograph the library’s 198 art prints, Glanders said, and the pictures have now been added to a Flickr account, allowing people to “shop” before coming to the library.

“It’s not necessarily something that people coming to the library would think to get,” she said. “But people who couldn’t afford it can now have nice art prints in their homes.”

The program has a loyal but relatively small patronage, Glanders said. Schools occasionally will use art prints to add to the backdrop of theater productions, and some offices like to use the prints to liven the look in waiting areas, but most patrons are people who like to revolve art within their home.

The most popular collections are those that coordinate with the four seasons, Amish themes and bookworm themes, Glanders said. The library also has several children’s prints.

“They enjoy the collections because it can renew the home for the season, and that can be a neat thing,” she said. “We have some really cool prints.”

The selection includes some famous prints, but most people tend to look for a certain theme that adds to their decor, Glanders said.

All the prints are framed behind Plexiglas, and sizes range from 23-by-26 to 37-by-48 inches. The art prints can be checked out for six weeks and can be renewed once, allowing a print to remain checked out for about three months.

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