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Old and rare books normally are locked tight in the recesses of archives and libraries, touched only by a few and then only with white gloves.
So imagine the scene Wednesday at Denison University's library when 60 students, faculty and others not only saw up close, but also handled treasured documents and rare editions of books, one dating back 500 years.
(ed-For variety's sake, I tried to find a story--key word: book--on something other than Harry Potter. But this is the one that turned up, and I have to report it...)
A team of archivists and preservationists is hard at work in Washington DC with librarians and museum personnel from around the country. Thanks to a grant from the non-profit Heritage Foundation and the IMLS, they are learning the how-to's of preserving fragile, time and temperature-worn documents.
A recent survey, following the destruction evidenced by Hurricane Katrina, showed the following:
*More than half of the country's 30,000 libraries, museums and archives have had articles that were damaged by moisture
*26 percent of collecting institutions have no environmental controls, including 40 percent of libraries.
*80 percent of collections have no disaster plan
On BookTV, Sunday, June 24, at 7:00 PM, (Eastern time) there is a program about the Frank Streeter Library Sale.
A WWII navy veteran of the Pacific theater, Frank Streeter developed an interest in and collected early navigation, pacific voyages, cartography, and science rare books. The 88 year-old Mr. Streeter decided to sell his library at Christies in New York, but died prior to the auction. In this program we take a close look at several of the rarest and most valuable books and learn about Mr. Streeter and how a rare book auction is conducted. The 552 items from the library sold for a total of 16.5 million dollars. Featured in the program is "The Atlantic Neptune", a large four volume sea atlas of the British colonies commissioned in 1760 and 16 years in production; it was the first detailed chart of the coastal areas of North America.
Link to program info at BookTV
The Belfast Telegraph reports that the British Library recently unveiled Turning the Pages 2.0 - a 3D system that allows people to explore digitized versions of books and manuscripts. A competition is being held among public libraries throughout the United Kingdom to find items in their collections that most deserve to be converted into 'virtual texts' and posted for the public to view on the British Library's website.
birdie writes "Previously unseen drawings by James Thurber to be displayed at the Columbus Library from the Columbus Dispatch. The works even include some erotic images -- unusual for Thurber, who drew most often for staid New Yorker Editor Harold Ross.
Thus, some of the drawings aren't family-oriented, Smith acknowledged.
"We will be taking three or four down," he said, "when the Thurber House has its kids camp."
Briton Peter J. Tyldesley, a solicitor and consultant for the Law Commission inherited his ancestor's Thomas Tyldesley diary from the early 18th Century. But in 1994, he decided to give it what he thought would be a safer home at the British Library. The diary was discovered earlier this month with it's leather cover cut off and the pages stained with oil. Times Online tells the sorry tale.
bookieincolorado writes "[Church of England] One of the oldest public libraries in the country is set to go into cyberspace. The printed book collection of Lambeth Palace Library — the historic library and record office of the Archbishops of Canterbury, and the main repository of the documentary history of the Church of England — will be added to an online catalogue for the benefit of the national and international research community, it has been announced today. Here's The Scoop!"
A rare edition of "The Grapes of Wrath," John Steinbeck's epic 1939 tale of Depression-era poverty, sold at auction for $47,800.
A number of other first-edition copies of Steinbeck works were sold Sunday at an auction held by Bonhams & Butterfields. A copy of "Of Mice and Men" sold for $7,768, "East of Eden" for $8,365 and "In Dubious Battle" for $11,353.