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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.

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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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Libraries and Special Collections: The New York Academy of Medicine

By Katie Behrens. Aug 24, 2015. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections

There is no limit on the subjects worthy of a special library collection – comic books, calligraphy, automobiles, you name it. But there is something extra special about medical library collections. Medical knowledge has changed drastically in the past 500 years or so, and to see that history with your own eyes can really knock your socks off. The New York Academy of Medicine Library is a phenomenal institution that aims to preserve medical history and make it just as relevant to audiences today.

     
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Tips for Collecting Caldecott First Editions

Winning a Caldecott Medal is the highest achievement for an American children's book illustrator, and it comes with a huge perk: your book will be remembered. Caldecott Medal (and honor) books are in print for years, and libraries are more likely to keep them on the shelf. These books represent the best and most innovative work in children’s book illustration, which also makes them highly desirable as collector’s items.

     
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The Birth of the Harry Potter Phenomenon

By Katie Behrens. Jul 31, 2015. 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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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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