Welcome to the Lepidopterarium where microfiche metamorphose into butterflies! Up from the ruins of abandoned technology comes a glorious transformation.
You may remember that this space was previously home to the Friends' Book Store. It is now a butterfly conservatory.
Here the nearly extinct LIBRARY BLUES (caeruleus bibliothecaris) hatch by the hundreds. These beautiful butterflies are extremely rare.
There are not many places left in the world to see them. We created this very special habitat in order to help them survive the digital age. The brambly field of wire book supports provides the LIBRARY BLUES with plenty of places to perch.
Historically, this species was spotted at the library quite often fluttering through stacks and nestling inside card catalog cabinets. Nowadays, it is unlikely to see them anywhere but in the archives.
We have lined the walls of the Lepidopterarium with catalog cards because LIBRARY BLUES love to nibble and munch on these information-filled treats. Look carefully at their translucent wings to notice the complex markings that are unique to each insect.
It is our hope that conservation efforts and displays such as this one will inspire a new generation of library scientists and lepidoptera lovers.
Angela Richardson & Paul Andrews
Curators of Lepidoptery, Madison Public Library
Special thanks to our team of assisting lepidopterists: Rebecca Bock, Liz Chapa, Laura Lob, Amanda Moss Struckmeyer, and Lisa Wilber