A janitor at a detention center saved immigrants' belongings and turned them into art

In 2003, artist Tom Kiefer took a part-time job as a janitor at a Border Patrol facility in Ajo, Arizona. It was just something to subsidize his creative work. But he watched first-hand as things got more crowded, and policies became more cruel. He saw canned food taken away from migrants and donated to a food pantry, then later thrown away entirely, even though it was still good. The same thing happened with water bottles. Then there were the personal possessions deemed "non-essential" — the toothbrushes, rosaries, medication, and toys. Some things — like shoelaces — were thrown away as potential weapons.

So Kiefer began to collect these discarded items and photograph them. He gathered more than 100,000 items over the course of a decade or so, and saved them in his studio to photograph.

He's barely made it through the pile. But now the photographs are on display at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, providing a compassionate insight into migrant lives, and how the things that we discard might matter to some people.

You can learn more in the video, or check out the gallery website below.

 

El Sueño Americano | The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer at the Skirball Cultural Center Read the rest

Garbage collectors open a public library with discarded books

In Ankara, Turkey, one person's trash is literally another's treasure. Garbage collectors started saving books once destined for the landfill and opened a public library.

CNN reports:

For months, the garbage men gathered forsaken books. As word of the collection spread, residents also began donating books directly.

Initially, the books were only for employees and their families to borrow. But as the collection grew and interest spread throughout the community, the library was eventually opened to the public in September of last year...

Today, the library has over 6,000 books ranging from literature to nonfiction. There is also a popular kid's section with comic books and an entire section for scientific research. Books in English and French are also available for bilingual visitors.

The library is housed in a previously vacant brick factory at the sanitation department headquarters...

The collection grew so large the library now loans the salvaged books to schools, educational programs, and even prisons.

(For Reading Addicts), image via CNN Read the rest