Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Other A session to introduce students to Open Learning Materials; 2-3 further group sessions with module coordinator to support students' progress on the module. Regular interaction with module authors/tutors via VLE.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay (1250 words)  30%
Semester Assessment Either a) Prepare an exhibition catalogue (equiv. to 2000 words) b)Report on managing a bequest (c2000 words)   70%
Supplementary Assessment Submission of supplementary coursework for failed course elements in line with the learning outcomes of the original assignments (failed component(s) only). 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

* Critially evaluate the nature and purpose of rare-book libraries

  • Identify and evaluate the main curatorial and management problems facing a rare-books librarian, including aspects of security, conservation, information technology, and reader services;

  • Evaluate the history of the printed book in Western Europe, especially in Britain, and identify the principal physical characteristics of a printed book of the hand-press period and explaining the general principles of the printing process in the hand-press period;

  • Critically assess the roles of the various tradesmen and craftsmen within the book trade, such as printer, bookseller, binder, papermaker, compositor;

  • Apply bibliographic reference tools for English print materials to analyse books of the hand-press period. Devise a promotional strategy for a rare-books collection

Brief description

This module provides a general introduction to the specialist field of rare books librarianship. 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 module 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.


Unit 1: Concepts and Issues
Unit 2: Book production on the hand press
Unit 3: The books trade: its personnel and organization
Unit 4: Identifying rare books and interpreting imprints
Unit 5: Care of the Collections
Unit 6: Promoting your rare books library or special collection.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Writing and presentation skills
Improving own Learning and Performance Students are set activities which involve reflection on practice and suggestions for acquisition of relevant new skills
Information Technology Use of web-based catalogues and databases; use of web-based conference facilities
Personal Development and Career planning Use of the library environment in activities and assignments in a specialist are of library and information studies.
Problem solving Several of the activities in the module set tasks which involve identification of problems and of factors which might influence potential problems.
Research skills Several activities involve a researched follow up to taught examples
Subject Specific Skills Identification and analysis of early printed books; reading room management for rare books; promotion; disaster planning; interpretation of Latin imprints.
Team work N/A


This module is at CQFW Level 6