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WFU librarian's three-foot 'book' to be used for New Orleans Public Library project


September 12, 2008

Craig Fansler, preservation librarian at Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library, has a new three-foot by four-foot “book” that soon will be found all over New Orleans—as a donation bank. 

The New Orleans Public Library (NOPL) Rebuilding Project will replicate Fansler’s book bank design to create donation boxes for its fundraising efforts.  The project is raising money to rebuild eight library branches and repair five others that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina and add several new branches, including a new “jazz” branch that will honor the history and contributions of jazz music.

Fansler created the book bank at the request of Lillian Shelton, director of Wake Forest’s Secrest Artists Series.  Shelton wanted an eye-catching donation box for the fundraising opportunities she was planning in conjunction with the Secrest Series’ concert featuring award-winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) on Sept. 25.

The original book bank features a slot on the top for donations, a trap door on the bottom, an image of Louis Armstrong on the front and the NOPL Rebuilding Project logo on the back.  When Shelton sent the NOPL Foundation a photograph of the book bank, they liked the idea so much they requested Fansler’s design plans.  Fansler was quick to consent.

“I think everyone has a soft spot for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf region as they continue to struggle to rebuild,” said Fansler.  “As a librarian, I’m especially honored to be able to help the New Orleans Public Library and their efforts to rebuild and establish a center for the study of jazz.”

“We are grateful, not just for the generosity of Wake Forest in organizing the donation drives for the New Orleans Public Libraries around the NOJO concert, but also for the creative donation box that Craig designed,” said Ron Biava, executive director of the NOPL Foundation.  “We look forward to using it here in New Orleans and elsewhere in the country.”

The NOPL plans to create the banks from the original design, crediting Fansler, the Z. Smith Reynolds Library and Wake Forest, and hopes to have New Orleans’ artists create various “book covers.” 

The original book bank will be set up in Winston-Salem at the following event locations Sept. 24-25:

  • Z. Smith Reynolds Library, 3 p.m. Sept. 24.  Matt Kendrick, a composer, double bassist and member of the Wake Forest music faculty, will give a free concert/lecture titled “Creators of Jazz.”
  • Reynolds High School, Sept. 25. Mayfield and the NOJO will perform for students and present workshops for the school’s first campus-wide initiative for the arts-magnet program this year.  The school has also made the visit a school-wide service project in which each class (freshmen through senior) is competing against the others to collect the most money for the NOPL project. Class officers will place the collected donations in the book bank at a presentation during the performance. The performance and workshops are not open to the public, but media are welcome to attend. The donation presentation will take place during the concert between 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. The specific time will be determined closer to the date.
  • Wait Chapel, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25. Irvin Mayfield will perform with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.  After the concert, the audience will be invited to help support the rebuilding project.  Tickets for the concert are available from the Wake Forest Theatre Box Office at (336) 758-5295.

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


Craig Fansler, preservation librarian at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library created the "book bank" design the New Orleans Public Library Foundation will use for its Rebuild Campaign.
Craig Fansler, preservation librarian at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library created the "book bank" design the New Orleans Public Library Foundation will use for its Rebuild Campaign.
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