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A Look Inside Presidential Libraries

Today is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. In addition to having been an exceptional statesman, Lincoln, like many of America's forefathers was also a prolific reader, amassing an impressive personal library. In honor of the late, great president, we've put together a post to give you a look inside presidential libraries.

     
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In Defense of Book Collecting

By Audrey Golden. Sep 3, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Collecting guide

There are so many different ways to collect books, and never-ending variety when it comes to shaping a book collection and deciding what you will collect. Some book collectors focus on completion, or collecting all of a particular author or publisher’s printed works. Other collectors are more esoteric, making their own rules for what belongs (and what doesn’t) in the collection. Book collectors have widely disparate sums of money to spend on book collections, and developing a collection certainly does not have to involve spending a substantial amount of money. To be sure, many collectors do spend a lot of money on individual items for their collections, yet there are also many book and ephemera collectors who bring together inexpensive items that, when placed in conversation with one another, have the capacity to produce great meaning.

     
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The Difference Between Having a Book Collection and Having a Library

By Audrey Golden. Aug 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Libraries, Collecting guide

Do you have a personal library, or do you have a collection? And is there really a difference between the two? It depends on who you ask. In general, we do think a book collection is distinct from a personal library, although the two are not necessarily separate from one another. Why does it matter? Well, the way in which you might conceive of and shape a personal library is likely to be quite different from the way in which you might conceive of and shape a book collection.

     
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Best Bookish Podcasts for Collectors and Book Enthusiasts

By Audrey Golden. Aug 12, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book History

Would you currently describe yourself as a book collector? Are you interested in becoming a book collector anytime soon? If you’re intrigued by book collecting and you also like podcasts, we have some recommendations for you. For example, perhaps you want to learn more about tips for book collecting while you’re jogging, riding public transit, or driving in your car? There’s a podcast for that. Or, maybe, you’re interested in learning more about recent rare book acquisitions at special collections libraries. There are also podcasts that can give you access to the information and stories you’re seeking. The following are some of the most recent bookish podcasts for collectors and book enthusiasts.

     
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Pablo Neruda: Rarest Spanish Language Editions

By Audrey Golden. Aug 4, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Awarded Books, Nobel Prize Winners

Many of the Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda’s books are extremely collectable. Nearly any edition of a Neruda book can see its market value enhanced significantly if it’s signed or inscribed by Neruda. Indeed, speaking of the latter, a presentation copy or association copy of a mass-produced paperback marked by Neruda’s hand can fetch thousands of dollars. Yet there are also a number of first editions, without any inscription to a particular person or in some cases even a Neruda signature, that are immensely valuable due to their rarity. Given that Neruda’s work has been translated into many different languages and employed at various political moments across the globe, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that there are many translated editions of the poet’s work that are extremely rare and valuable. We’re going to focus here on some of the rarest Spanish language editions.

     
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Bookish Apps for the Avid Collector

By Audrey Golden. Jul 31, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, collectors

If you have a book collection, you’re probably like many other collectors of books and ephemera—you want to catalogue what you have. You probably also want to have an easy way to access information about your collection. There are some apps available that can help you to do just that. Beyond apps, some websites also exist for the sheer purpose of helping you to catalog your book collection, as well as to keep a “wants” list for new books that might pop up for sale. We’ve looked at a number of these apps and sites, and we’ve tested some of them out—some with benefits for serious collectors, and some that we just don’t like. We’ll tell you about a couple of the apps and tools we like best, but ultimately, we find that digital gadgets for book collecting leave something to be desired (hint, hint, app designers).

     
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Iconic Images of Author Jack London

By Kristin Masters. Jul 30, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Rare Books, Book Collecting

On January 12, 1876, author Jack London was born John Griffith Chaney. The son of astrologer William Chaney and music teacher/spiritualist Flora Wellman, London grew up in poverty. After working as a sailor, going to Alaska for the Klondike Gold Rush, and even doing a stint as a hobo, London came to see writing as his means of escaping the work "trap." He began his career, fortuitously, at a time when new printing technology made it more cost effective to publish magazines cheaply, and he was soon making an excellent living thanks to the burgeoning demand for short fiction. London became one of the most beloved American authors, capturing our imagination with his tales of adventure.

     
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Chicago’s Rare Book Scene

Planning a trip to Chicago anytime soon? Like a number of other major cities in the U.S. and across the globe, Chicago has its own vibe, its own pizza, and its own rare book scene. We want to tell you more about all the city has to offer for buying rare books at stores and fairs, and for delving into rare book research at some of Chicago’s special collections libraries.

     
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Book Collecting as a Woman

By Audrey Golden. Jun 2, 2020. 9:49 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Books collecting, collectors

As a woman who collects rare books, ephemera, and vinyl records, I think about the gendered aspects of collecting a lot more than some other people might. I’ve been collecting for years—well, for decades, really. I have a few different collections that I’ve been developing over the years, and those collections are quite disparate from one another. The variety of the items in these collections means that I end up interacting with many different kinds of sellers and collectors, so my experiences aren’t limited to a single temporal period, genre, or medium. What I continue to find, dishearteningly, is that women often are still treated differently than men when it comes to collecting. Certainly, there are more women collectors and more women rare booksellers than there were in previous decades and generations. Yet the playing field doesn’t feel quite equal.

     
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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.

     
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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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