Rare Book Library Stuff

As those of you who regularly follow me may notice, I have been MIA for about a month now. For most of the month, I have no excuse other than being really busy. But who isn’t? I hope to start doing better. Though last week, from July 17 – July 22, 2016, I have an excuse! I was at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar in Colorado Springs! I tend to post about books I have read, but this week I am going to change things up a bit and tell you about the rare book seminar I attended.

The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) was a lot of fun, but also intense, informative, and challenging. Sunday, I flew in to Colorado where I met the specialty dealer speaker, Don Lindgren of Rabelais Fine Books, on the shuttle from Denver to Colorado Springs. Don and his wife sell cookbooks and other culinary books in their store in Maine and online. It was neat getting to know him briefly on the ride and I really enjoyed his talk on Wednesday about his personal bookselling experiences.

Did I mention this week was intense? Monday we received an overview of the week, learned about the bookselling business as a whole, and began our sessions on books as a physical object and bibliography. I received so much information on that first day that I was grateful to have a relaxing chuck wagon dinner with my fellow classmates and the faculty. Colorado College was an ideal location for the seminar. The location is gorgeous with the mountains to the west and convenient with downtown Colorado Springs in walking distance to the south.

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Chuckwagon Dinner Monday Night

Tuesday through Thursday we had intense classes, covering all areas of bookselling, collecting, and evaluating books as objects. My favorite classes were about observing the book as a physical object. Some aspects I already knew, having worked in Special Collections in some capacity since 2011, but I learned a lot too. Terry Belanger taught the basics of collation and gave a general history of the book, but my favorite class of his was about bookbinding. I loved the overview of bookbinding history and understanding why they bound or bind books the way they do. For example, I learned that in the mid-1800s, bookbinders discovered that a cardboard and cloth combination used for ladies’ hats could also be used for book covers!

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Collation example of Come In and Other Poems in a Robert Frost Bibliography

On Friday, more was discussed about selling to libraries. This not only benefitted the booksellers, but also the librarians in the room. The faculty did an excellent job explaining the condition of modern American libraries, how and what they are buying, and what can be done to help support library collections. As I am not a curator, this was all good information for me to understand a bit more about the acquisition process of special collections and libraries in general. Katherine Reagan from Cornell was the librarian on the faculty. She and her fellow bookseller faculty members explained how libraries and booksellers are a part of the same team and we need to work together to help preserve our history through books, ephemera, and other items. I am blessed to work in a library and am looking forward to seeing how libraries continue to grow and evolve throughout my career!!

As a side note: on Tuesday night, my friend who lives in Colorado, visited me in Colorado Springs. We drove to Manitou Springs. That place is awesome and you should all go check out the penny arcade!

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Had fun with 5 and 10 cent games!

P.S. On the plane to Colorado, I read Relish. I will be writing up a post on that graphic novel soon! I promise.

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This One Summer

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By Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Recently, This One Summer was removed from a public school in Minnesota. Therefore, it has been the subject of many online library and comic book articles of late. Within the last year or so, I purchased this graphic novel at my local comic shop during their semi-annual sale. I liked the art and the overall feel of the book. I couldn’t remember any reason why it should be taken from the school completely, so I took the opportunity to reread it. After rereading it, I still do not agree with the school’s decision to remove it. I understand that the school has students ranging from elementary to high school, but I believe that middle school, high school, and university students would greatly benefit from reading this graphic novel. In addition, I fully believe that parents should read it too. It would be a great opportunity for families to bring up hard topics and have real-life discussions.

The entire story is set in Awago Beach, a small summer beach town. Each year Rose Wallace travels with her parents to spend the summer there, where she has the chance to reconnect with her summer friend, Windy. Windy travels with her mother and grandmother. Windy and Rose immediately set out to have fun at the beach, have meals with their families, and watch horror flicks (which is not necessarily an approved activity, but they are young teens and do it anyway). The reason they watch so many horror films is so that Rose can see Duncan, the cashier at the only store in town, basically a convenient store and movie rental shop. The store is consistently surrounded by teenagers who are vulgar and crass. They pretend to try to be quiet when the girls come through, but they don’t do a good job of masking their attitudes. It is through these peripheral exchanges that the girls learn more about the locals and they start incorporating the older teens’ vocabulary (much to the distaste of Rose’s mother). The girls learn that Jenny may be pregnant with Duncan as the father, but he is not supportive and won’t even talk to her till she goes to a doctor to confirm. Meanwhile, Rose’s mom and dad are fighting, which Rose assumes is all about her mom trying to have another baby and continually failing.

“You should tell her. Kids are…they get it.” That line told by Windy’s mother to Rose’s mother seems to sum up what the author intended to express about children, specifically young adults. Children are not dumb. They know things, they see things, and they hear things. Since the story is told from the perspective of young teens who are in the process of growing up, they only hear half of what the adults and older teens are saying, which causes them to formulate their own conclusions about what is going on. Their often incorrect assumptions only stresses the importance of families actually being present to talk to their kids, even if the kid doesn’t want to talk either. The girls talk with each other, but while Windy tries to be there for Rose, she is still a free spirit who wants to play and have fun. She is not burdened with all of the same stresses and certainly does not care about crushes and boys. Whereas, Rose is trying to grow up faster so that she can be more like the teens she is observing.

The beauty of this book is its discussion about pregnancy. Some people want kids and can’t seem to get or stay pregnant, while other people don’t want kids and can easily get or stay pregnant. This topic of pregnancy permeates throughout the graphic novel, but is only directly discussed on a few pages. I think the author and illustrator did an excellent job balancing such a difficult topic within the confines of traditional and non-traditional families. The dialog is real and the illustrations are perfect exposition. It is my opinion that this graphic novel truly earned the awards it achieved: Caldecott Honor Book and Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature from the American Library Association (ALA) and should not be too hastily removed from middle school, high school, or public libraries.

 

 

Welcome to my rambles!

I have wanted to write a personal blog for a long time, but because I have so many interests I have had a hard time narrowing down what I want to write about. First, I thought I’d do a nerdy blog by writing about comic books and anime, but then I thought about all my other interests and I became overwhelmed. Then it hit me, while I was cataloging a variety of books at work, why don’t I just write about things I’d find in a library?

Libraries hold all sorts of resources that come in many shapes and sizes and encompass a multitude of topics. I could write reviews, commentary on something unusual about the work, or just wonder why the author deemed it necessary to kill my favorite character. I may even do something library related in general to change things up on occasion. We’ll see! Please bear with me as I find my niche. I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I will enjoy writing it!