Did you know?  Check our Rare Books Page

The Books That Inspired George Lucas

By Brian Hoey. May 14, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, Science Fiction

The adventure begins in the ordinary world, where our hero gets the call to action; with the help of companions and mentors, he crosses the threshold into a supernatural world, where the old rules don’t apply. He faces a series of trials, culminating in an ultimate ordeal in which the hero is victorious. He earns a boon, which he carries back into the ordinary world.

     
Read more...


How to Choose What Kind of Book to Collect

By Audrey Golden. May 13, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Collecting guide

If you want to start a book collection but you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. While many collections arise out of the collector’s enthusiasm for a particular author, genre, or field, book collections can have a wide variety of starting points. Depending upon the collection, the organizing principles might immediately be recognizable to an average onlooker, or the collection may look entirely disordered with categorizations and classifications developed out of the idiosyncratic mind of the collector. The types of books and ephemera you choose to collect ultimately will depend upon your own interests. One thing is true for all collectors, though: whatever kind of books you to select, make sure you’re passionate about the collection.

     
Read more...


Legendary Illustrators: Charles van Sandwyk

By Katharina Koch. May 12, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Children's Books

Award-winning children's illustrator Charles van Sandwyk has developed a reputation for drawings and watercolors that look like they hark from agesand placespast. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1966, van Sandwyk grew up surrounded by art. His father was a graphic designer, and their home was filled with a wealth of antique prints and paintings.

     
Read more...


Tim Russert: Journalist and Author

By Adrienne Rivera. May 7, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

As the long-time host of Meet the Press and commentator on presidential elections, Timothy Russert was a household name during his lauded career at NBC. Russert is credited with popularizing the terms “red and blue states” to refer to states that primarily tend to vote Republican or Democrat, respectively. During his time as a journalist with NBC, he covered numerous presidential elections and the Iraq war. Let's take a closer look at the career and books by this legend of televised political journalism.

     
Read more...


Los Angeles's Rare Book Scene

Los Angeles has a rare book scene all of its own. With the city’s deep roots in cinema and Hollywood production, not surprisingly, many rare bookstores in the city have an incredible selection of film books, screenplays, and other materials tied to the silver screen. At the same time, Los Angeles is also a beacon for contemporary art, and many of the city’s rare bookshops reflect the modern and contemporary art scene. Like other major urban areas in the U.S., if you visit at the right time, you may find yourself in Los Angeles during a book fair. From shops to annual fairs, the Los Angeles rare book scene has much to offer.

     
Read more...


Are Paperbacks Worth Anything?

By Audrey Golden. May 5, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Whether you already have a collection of paperback books or are thinking about starting one, you might be wondering if paperbacks have any market value. The answer to that inquiry depends on a wide variety of factors, from the scarcity or rarity of the paperback book to the history of the specific paperback book as a physical object. For example, was the paperback owned by a prominent writer, or was it inscribed by a notable author? Or, is the paperback part of a limited first edition of the book? Is the book printed on handmade paper? These are just a few of the questions you might consider when evaluating the market value of a paperback book. While you might assume that hardcover books with dust jackets have greater market value than paperback books, this is not the case. While hardcover books with intact dust jackets can have significant market value, the same is true for many paperbacks.

     
Read more...


A Vincent Van Gogh Book Spotlight: Lust for Life

By Audrey Golden. Apr 30, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies, Art

Vincent Van Gogh lived a short life and committed suicide when he was only 37 years old. For many painters, writers, and collectors, Van Gogh’s story is an interesting one, often shrouded in mystique due to the artist’s own struggles with mental health issues and psychic instability. After his death, when Van Gogh’s paintings finally received the acclaim that they never did in his lifetime, public interest also grew surrounding the artist’s life story. Rumors circulated about his madness and his creative genius. In the 1920s, a young Irving Stone (born Irving Tennenbaum) traveled with his then-wife Lona Mosk to Paris, where he began investigating Van Gogh’s life and works. Stone’s research led to the critically acclaimed biography Lust for Life (1934).

     
Read more...


What is the History of the ISBN?

By Audrey Golden. Apr 28, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

If you’ve ever purchased a new book from a bookstore, a secondhand book, or a textbook for a course, you’ve most likely held a book that has an ISBN number. Sometimes college and university faculty will emphasize the need to buy a book for a course with a specific ISBN number to ensure that everyone has the same edition. You might even have entered an ISBN number if you’ve gone onto a publisher’s website with the intention of identifying or ordering a book. Anyone who has ever had to use an ISBN number already knows, most likely, that these numbers can have 10 digits or 13 digits. Even though many of us have identified a book by its ISBN number in some fashion, it’s rare to take a step back and to think about the purpose and history of the ISBN number. We want to tell you more about the history of the ISBN and why these numbers can be extremely helpful to book collectors.

     
Read more...


Tennessee Williams and the Catastrophe of Success

By Neely Simpson. Apr 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Drama

The Glass Menagerie narrowly avoided complete disaster when it premiered in Chicago in 1944 with the inebriated Laurette Taylor in the crucial role of overbearing matriarch, Amanda Wingfield. Taylor was found drunk in the alley behind the theater an hour and a half before the opening curtain. Somehow, despite needing to vomit in a bucket backstage between scenes, she managed to pull off a performance still considered legendary. It was this performance on which hung the destiny of one of America's greatest playwrights: Tennessee Williams.

     
Read more...


Questions to Ask When Visiting a Special Collections Library

By Audrey Golden. Apr 25, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections, Libraries

Whenever you are in search of a particular rare book that you know a special collections library owns, or when you are seeking out information about a specific author and are hoping to find something exciting and new in that author’s papers, you’ll need to be prepared. Some special collections libraries require you to get permission in advance of your visit to conduct research in a particular writer’s papers (or in the special collections library more generally). Sometimes, especially if a library has recently acquired a collection, it won’t yet be open to researchers. You could really find yourself in a bind if you travel to visit an archive only to learn that you can’t access the materials within it. To prepare for a visit to a special collections library, we have some key questions you should consider before you go and while you’re there.

     
Read more...


About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

Get blog notifications per email:

Download the James Bond Dossier

Recent Posts

Book Glossary
Get your free Guide to Book Care

Blog Archive

> see older posts
A Guide to Historic Libraries Part I