Introduction to Rare Books Librarianship

This is the first of two short courses on rare books librarianship and it provides a general introduction to this specialist field. It gives a brief overview of the development of the printed book in the hand-press period (to approximately 1850) and examines the problems of identifying and making available valuable and early printed materials in libraries.

The aim of this short course is to enable students to identify materials in a rare-books collection and give them the appropriate curatorial care, give help and advice to the general public about materials in a rare-books collection, and to deal appropriately with bibliographical queries and promotion.

Tutor

Jennie Hill BA MA MScEcon - Director of Postgraduate Studies and lecturer with Information Studies at Aberystwyth University. Jennie has a wealth of experience working in information and archive posts including:

In addition to modules in archives and recordkeeping, Jennie also teaches rare books and special collections. Her research interests centre on engagement with the past in all its guises, but particularly interdisciplinary engagement with archives, public history and heritage, collecting, and the history of libraries and recordkeeping. Jennie’s publications include:

  • Hill, J. (2010) ed. The Future of Archives and Recordkeeping, Facet
  • Lane, V. and Hill, J. (2010) Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? Situating the Archive and Archivists, in Hill, J. ed. The Future of Archives and Recordkeeping, Facet.
  • Hill, J. and Slocombe, W. (2010) No Larkin Around: The Serious Business of Contemporary Literary Archives, Archives: The Journal of the British Records Association, 35(122), 1-10.
  • Co-editor of special issue of Archives on literary archives including contributions from Jamie Andrews, GLAM, Christine Faunch, Jeff Cowton, David McClay and Peter Barry. Archives: The Journal of the British Records Association, 35 (122) April 2010.
  • Hill, J. and Taylor, M. (2009) Taking Off: encouraging deeper learning and cohort identity through dialogic learning, in Gaskill, A. and Mills, R. eds. Supporting Learning in the Digital Age: rethinking inclusion, pedagogy and quality: collected conference papers and abstracts (Cambridge, September 22-25 2009), 222-229.

Prerequisites

Students should have an interest in the history of the book. It is helpful to have access to a rare books collection, but this isn’t essential for studying the module successfully.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this short course you should be able to:

  • define the nature and purpose of rare-book libraries
  • discuss the history of the printed book in Western Europe, especially in Britain
  • identify the principal physical characteristics of a printed book of the hand-press period
  • explain the general principles of the printing process in the hand-press period
  • explain the roles of the various tradesmen and craftsmen within the book trade, such as printer, bookseller, binder, papermaker, compositor
  • demonstrate how to identify a book of the hand-press period using the standard bibliographical reference tools for English printed materials
  • analyse the main curatorial and management problems facing a rare-books librarian, including security, conservation, information technology, and reader services
  • devise a promotional strategy for a rare-books collection

Apply

To apply please complete the Short Course Application Form. Return it - with your reference - to Aberystwyth Postgraduate Admissions Office on pg-admissions@aber.ac.uk, before the application deadline date.

For further information, please contact the please contact Information Studies tel: (+/0)1970 622188; e-mail: dis-dept@aber.ac.uk