Jen Library Bee – Savannah, Georgia - Atlas Obscura

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Jen Library Bee

Savannah College of Art and Design

You’ve heard of bookworms, but this small sculpture at a university library may be the world’s first bookbee. 


Savannah is already a pretty funky city. Overflowing with colorful residents, celebrating bachelorettes, and wildly creative art students, the city’s reputation as an energetic and imaginative place is well-earned. Overflowing with personality, there’s an abundance of things to see in the Hostess City of the South, but most people chose to start with Leopold’s Ice Cream. Located right on Savannah’s main drag, Leopold’s is best known not for its actual desserts, but the unbelievably long line that stretches from the front door down the street comprised of visitors who want to know what all the hype is about.

But what’s this got to do with bees and books? Well, if you’re just a casual visitor getting some ice cream at Leopold’s, you’d likely have no idea. No idea, that is, that an enormous metal bee is lurking just across the street, staring at everyone in line.

This is the famous “book bee” of the Jen Library at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). SCAD was founded in 1978 by a small group of art students who dreamt of one day establishing a world-class art college. Four decades later, it’s pretty easy to say they achieved their goal. SCAD is now an internationally-recognized institution with remote campuses in Atlanta and Lacoste, France. The school brags that 99 percent of alumni have found a job in their field within five years of graduation.

And it all ties back to the bee. SCAD’s mascot is Artie the Bee, a frankly terrifying insect who is known to frighten potential freshmen on open house days. Nonetheless, the school and its students embrace bees, and iconography containing these cute little honey-bearers can be seen all over the campus. Including, but not limited to, a huge, metallic insect that looms over the entrance of the Jen Library.

Illuminated only by a large, orange disc of light, the bee has quite an ominous presence. It sits, ready to strike passerby, but hidden in plain sight, as most visitors wouldn’t give a second glance to this hidden feature on the library’s ceiling. So next time you’re downtown, try and scope out the biggest insect in Savannah.

Know Before You Go

The bee is attached to the ceiling at the entrance of the Jen Library. You don’t have to go inside the library to see it.

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November 5, 2021

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