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Katie Behrens
Avid consumer of books, media, and general nerdery. Ready to dig deep into a story and match the right books with the right readers.

Recent Posts:

The Birth of the Harry Potter Phenomenon

By Katie Behrens. Jul 31, 2019. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Book History

July 31 may seem an unremarkable day to some, but not to fans of Harry Potter. It’s Harry’s birthday as well as that of his creator, J.K. Rowling. The publication of the Harry Potter books has unquestionably changed children’s literature and arguably the world. How did this genre-busting phenomenon even begin?

     
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Top 10 Children's Books for the Holiday Season

By Katie Behrens. Dec 14, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Christmas Books

Whether you’re eight years old or eighty, there’s something magical about receiving a children’s book as a holiday gift. Whether it's a story you knew and loved as a child, or one you're passing on to a new generation, children's books stir old memories and create new. You open up the wrapping paper to find a beautiful story that transports you to a different place and time.  It is also a meaningful experience for the gift giver, wanting to pass along a character or story that they loved as a child. And for those merely ‘young at heart’, what a joy to receive a rare copy of a book that you haven’t seen in years!

     
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The Founding of the Smithsonian Institution: Increasing & Diffusing Knowledge

By Katie Behrens. Jul 13, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Libraries & Special Collections

Imagine you wake up one morning and discover that a mysterious benefactor left you a small fortune, stipulating that the funds be used to help others. How would you spend it? Now imagine that you have to make that decision with 293 other people without splitting the money. This is the task that the 24th Congress of the United States faced when it created the Smithsonian Institution

     
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Libraries and Special Collections: The Geisel Library at UC San Diego

By Katie Behrens. Mar 21, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections

Everyone loves a beautiful, old library with oak desks, cozy chairs, and tall windows. Libraries built during the economic boom of the mid-20th century, however, were often used as a playground for architectural experimentation, particularly on college and university campuses. Sometimes the result was instantly regrettable; at other times, it was intriguing and other-worldly. The Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego falls in the latter category.

     
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What Exactly Is Young Adult Literature? A Brief History

By Katie Behrens. Mar 10, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Children's Books, Book History

If you ask a book lover what they read during their young, formative years, the conversation will inevitably turn to how “we didn’t have books like The Hunger Games when I was growing up.” And it’s true: young adult literature as a genre only began to take root in the 1970s and ‘80s, but boy, has it ever gone through a growth spurt since then. Books for teens are dominating book sales and box offices these days. Where did this phenomenon begin?

     
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Elie Wiesel: Reluctant Writer and Collectible Nobel Laureate is Dead

By Katie Behrens. Jul 2, 2016. 6:08 PM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel passed away on July 2, 2016. Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania in 1928, and is best known for his voice as a Holocaust survivor and advocate for peace. Wiesel’s family was separated during World War II when the German army deported their Jewish community of Sighet to Auschwitz-Birkenau. His father died just weeks before the camp was liberated by American troops in 1945. After the war, Wiesel was reunited with two of his three sisters in France; his mother and youngest sister did not survive.

     
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Libraries and Special Collections: The Tolkien Archive at Marquette University

J. R. R. Tolkien was raised in South Africa, fought in World War I, lived most of his life in England, and taught for a long time at Oxford University. So it may surprise you to know that a great portion of his original manuscripts and papers can be found at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It seems an unlikely location for such precious documents – how on Earth did they find their way to Wisconsin?

     
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Fay Weldon: An Unfiltered and Unapologetic Voice for Women

By Katie Behrens. Sep 22, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Biographies

The goal of an author is to find his or her own unique voice, distinct from all writers before. Some struggle for years to find the right style or tone, and others seem to happen upon their voice by accident. Fay Weldon is decidedly in the latter camp. An extremely prolific British writer now in her 80s, Weldon tells her stories with stark honesty and effortless wit, and she doesn’t care one jot what the critics say.

     
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A Brief Guide to Collecting Newbery First Editions

C. S. Lewis once wrote, “A children’s story which is only enjoyed by children is a bad children’s story,” and he is not alone in lauding the virtues of the genre. The Newbery Medal, awarded once a year for excellence in writing for children, is considered the highest honor for children’s authors in the United States. Established in 1922, the Newbery also provides book collectors with a well-established place to begin.

     
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Libraries and Special Collections: The British Library

By Katie Behrens. Sep 6, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections

Where does one even begin to talk about the British Library? As a strong contender for the largest library in the world, and as one of the most publicly engaged, the British Library simply cannot be contained in a short article. Its treasured manuscripts only scratch the surface, but it’s a surface worth scratching nonetheless.

     
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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.

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