Periodicals Department Collection and State Library Resources

 Un(bound): An Altered Books Competition

Photos by ErenetaGwinnett County Public LibraryTopeka & Shawnee County Public Library, and Bettysoo*, all under a Creative Commons license

What Is An Altered Book?

An altered book is a book that has simply been altered in some way.  According to the International Society of Altered Book Artists, an altered book is any book, old or new that has been recycled by creative means into a work of art. They can be ... rebound, painted, cut, burned, folded, added to, collaged in, gold-leafed, rubber stamped, drilled or otherwise adorned.  Altered books may be as simple as adding a drawing or text to a page, or as complex as creating an intricate book sculpture. 


Competition Guidelines

  • The competition is open to anyone 13 years of age or over; entries for teens (ages 13-17) and adults (ages 18+) will be judged separately. 
  • There are NO RULES about how to alter your book – you can add to, delete from, cut up, collage, or reconfigure the book – in short, whatever comes to mind.  Just please, do not use a library book!
  • All entries must be submitted no later than 1pm on Saturday, November 20th, 2010.
  • Employees, and family members of employees, of the Enoch Pratt Free Library are allowed to enter, but are not eligible to win prizes.

Download complete guidelines and registration form (PDF).


The Judges

2010 Judges will be announced soon. 

The 2009 judges included, Val Lucas from Bowerbox Press, Jean-Baptiste Regnard and Kevin Sherry from Squidfire, Nolen Strals from Post Typography , and Rachel Whang from Atomic Books.


The Prizes

The top 3 entries in the youth and adult categories will receive prize packages containing items that were graciously donated by local businesses. 

2010 prize donors include:



 dandds earthalley



logo_NAIB plaza

red_tree singlecarrot


trinacria walters

Altered Books Workshop

Come join the Pratt Library and workshop instructors (from Maryland Institute College of Art) at the Baltimore Book Festival and make your own altered book.  The library will provide books and supplies, free of charge.

What: Altered Book Workshop @ the Baltimore Book Festival
When: Friday, September 24th, 6-8:30pm
Saturday, September 25th, 2-4:30pm
Sunday, September 26th, 2-4:30pm
Where: Urbanite tent @ the Baltimore Book Festival 

Photo by Bellah under a Creative Commons license.


Altered Books Exhibit

Come see altered books for yourself!  The top 15 books in the youth and adult categories will be put on display for all to see.

What: Un(bound): An Altered Books Exhibit
When: TBA
Where: Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central Library 


Need some inspiration?

Check out the links below for more information on and examples of altered books.

A Sampling of 2009 Un(bound) Entries 

Altered Books 

Altered Book Images on Flickr 

Altered Book Images on Google 

Altered Books on Squidoo 

Altered Books Techniques 

The Book Thing Of Baltimore  (free books)

Brian Dettmer: Book Autopsies 

Creativity Portal - Altered Books 

International Society of Altered Book Artists 


Photo by Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library under a Creative Commons license. 





For more information please contact:

Abigail Cooley (, 410.396.5451) or Liz Sundermann (, 410.396.5484)