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Los Angeles Public Library Updates Twenty-Year-Old Library Card Design

by on June 16, 2016

Photo caption: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (left) watches artist Shepard Fairey sign a replica of LA’s first artist-designed, limited-edition library card at the press launch on April 19 at the Central Library.  The card is available at all 73 locations of the Los Angeles Public Library.

As part of its National Library Week Celebration, the Los Angeles Public Library teamed up with artists Shepard Fairey and Cleon Peterson to re-imagine their outdated purple and orange card.[1] The new green and black design is a stylized illustration of the Central Library in downtown L.A., which is celebrating its ninetieth birthday this year.“Our city is the creative capital of the world—and this collaboration between the Los Angeles Public Library and Shepard Fairey is a great expression of how art can enliven our civic institutions,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti at the April unveiling of the LAPL’s first limited-edition artist-designed card. “It is a beautiful design that will raise awareness about the wealth of resources that our libraries offer, free of charge, to Angelenos of all ages and in every community.”[2]

According to an LAPL press release, the new design is based on an illustration created for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles’s Young Literati Annual Toast fundraiser. Both Fairey and his wife, Amanda, are involved in the Young Literati group.[3] Fairey was involved in the skateboard scene in the late 1980s and later went on to graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design. He is best known for his OBEY clothing and now-famous HOPE portrait of Barack Obama used heavily during the 2008 presidential campaign and later the subject of a copyright case.[4] leon Peterson is an L.A.-based artist whose graphic style often depicts violence and struggle.[5]

Said Fairey in the press release, “When I was younger, I did most of my research for art and design at the library. The L.A. Public Library system also has great tutoring and summer reading programs that are free to the public, and a needed supplement to our underfunded school system.”

The Los Angeles Public Library states in that press release that they serve “the largest and most diverse urban population of any library in the nation.” The new card is available at the library’s seventy-three locations while supplies last.

[1] Biance Barragan, “LA Public Library Has an Arty New Card Designed by Shepard Fairey,” Curbed Los Angeles, April 19, 2016.
[2] David Ng, “L.A. Public Library unveils new card designed by Shepard Fairey,” Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2016.
[3]Mayor Garcetti & Artist Shepard Fairey, Renowned for his Obama HOPE Portrait, Unveil L.A.’s First Artist-Designed Library Card,” Los Angeles Public Library press release, April 19, 2016.
[4] Hannah Elliott, “Artist Shepard Fairey Pleads Guilty In Criminal Case, Faces Prison Time,”Forbes, March 7, 2012.
[5]Cleon Peterson,” Artsy.com.

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