March 4, 2024

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Merry Bookmas | Mary Washington Library unveils book tree

2 min read

You can guess how many books it took to make the tree in a contest.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — It’s probably the most eco-friendly Christmas tree that you’ll come across in the DMV.  The branches stay on the shelf all year and when you’re done with the tree you can take it apart and read it.    We’re talking about a Christmas tree made out of books and you can see it in the  Fairfax County library system.  

For the last eight years, Martha Washington Library has made a tree entirely of books during the holiday season.  Organizers say this is the biggest tree yet.  The library wants you to join in on the fun with a contest to guess how many books it takes to make the tree.  The contest ends on January 2nd, 2024. 

“We call it the ‘book tree’,” Jill Burgard said with a smile.  Burgard is a librarian at Martha Washington Library, located in Alexandria.  

“We do it with donations from our book sale,” Burgard said.  “We tend to go for thicker, reference books, coffee table books.  And then as it moves, we have smaller hardback, fiction books,” she explained.  

“And it’s all gravity.  There’s nothing connecting it.  It’s just books, stacked upon books.  It takes a few hours to find the right shape and size, because if they’re not the right width, then it will topple,” Burgard shared.  

The tree features a few lights and some branches at the bottom. 

Burgard said she decorates the tree every year with her coworker, Jennifer Blume.  Blume said it started off small but quickly became popular.  She said she enjoys seeing the look on people’s faces when the tree is lit. 

“Everybody’s delight when it goes up,” Blume shared with a smile. ” Like everybody comes in, they wait for it.  They want to take pictures of their kids with it. Or they’re just like, ‘Oh my God, how’d you do that!” 

Burgard said the library has also made a Menorah out of books and superheroes. 

While the tree is festive and fun to look at, it’s also sustainable. 

“And the way the book tree is sustainable, in a sense,  that we are reusing, recycling books. When you come to the library, you don’t have to buy things. You can just borrow them,” Burgard said. 

Burgard said that the library offers more than books.  Residents can borrow board games,  laptops, and even use a 3-D printer. 

“So come to the library and discover all the great things that we have,” Burgard said. 

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2023-12-18 16:01:52

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