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Rare Books in American College Towns

There are many places to shop for rare books in the United States, and rare book collectors often think about major cities and urban areas where antiquarian bookstores are open for browsing and antiquarian book fairs come to town annually. Yet there are also many smaller towns and cities across the country that can be exciting locations for rare book shopping. We want to introduce you to used and rare bookstores, as well as special collections libraries, in some of America’s best-loved college towns.

     
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Punk Research: The DC Punk Archive

There are many ideas about what constitutes a library and what should be contained in a special collection library or archive. Naturally, different people have their own opinions about what is and isn’t worth preserving, what constitutes a collection of rare books and ephemera, or what kinds of materials should be housed in research centers.

While the subject matter at one time might have fallen squarely outside the bounds of academic subject matter, punk in general has become a target for collectors and researchers in the US, the UK, and various other parts of the world.

While you can’t buy any of the materials for your own collection, if you're hoping to expand the boundaries of your collecting knowledge or you want to think about ways to organize and develop your own collection of music, zines, handbills, books, and other materials, the DC Punk Archive could be the perfect place for you to get started.

     
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Redefining the Rare Book: An Interview on Andrew Stauffer's Book Traces

By Audrey Golden. Feb 26, 2021. 12:37 PM.

Topics: Rare Books, Libraries & Special Collections, Libraries

What makes a book rare? Can books have afterlives? And when might markings and ephemera in well-loved texts actually increase the worth of the object? Andrew Stauffer's new book, Book Traces: Nineteenth-Century Readers the Future of the Library (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), investigates the personal and collective narratives that arise out of nineteenth-century library books in circulation at varied institutions.

     
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What is a Bookplate?

Let’s say you found a rare book you want to add to your collection, and the bookseller’s description says it has a bookplate. You might be wondering precisely what a bookplate is, whether it is a newer addition to the book, and how it affects the value. These are all good questions, and there’s not a single answer to any of those inquiries. In all cases where a book contains a bookplate, it depends. We’ll give you some basic information about bookplates to help you understand how these additions to books came to be and how they can affect the value of an object. We’ll also tell you a little bit more about sources for discovering new information about bookplates if you get particularly interested. In the end, you could decide to establish an entire rare book collection around the bookplate, seeking out objects that contain them or seeking out the bookplates themselves.

     
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Visiting Zine Archives in New York City

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

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections, Libraries

When you’re making plans to visit a special collections library, you’re likely aiming to spend at least a couple of days in the archives, exploring the collection. And if you’re interested in rare books, when you visit a city, you might plan to delve into the rare book archives in that place. When you’re visiting New York City, there are certainly more than a handful of rare book options to meet your needs. From archives to museums to bookshops to book fairs, there’s almost no limit to what New York’s rare book scene has to offer. Yet today, we want to focus on a niche area of collection and research interest: zines in the city. If you’re planning to travel to New York at any point in the near future and you’re even the slightest bit fascinated by underground and punk DIY culture, you should investigate the zine archives and collections throughout the city. We’re going to make it easy for you by giving you a head start in this article.

     
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San Francisco's Rare Book Scene

Do you live in the Bay Area, and are you just starting to put together a rare book collection? Are you traveling to San Francisco at any point in the near future? The Bay Area is truly an antiquarian and rare book treasure trove. From rare bookstores to antiquarian book fairs to rare book archives, you couldn’t ask for much more than everything the Bay Area has to offer. While our title centers in San Francisco, we want to introduce you to the rare book scene in the Bay Area more generally, and to encourage you to plan several days of book hunting in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. And, quite frankly, several days probably won’t be sufficient. You’ll want to keep coming back for more.

     
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The Library of Congress and Rare Books

By Audrey Golden. Oct 6, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections, Libraries

Have you ever looked into the resources held by the Library of Congress? Are you interested in a wide variety of archives and exhibits dedicated to rare books, materials, and related ephemera? Washington, D.C. obviously has a number of notable attractions for anyone interested in history—and book history in particular. Yet you’d be crazy to visit Washington, D.C. without making a stop into the Library of Congress. And if you’re interested in conducting research into a specific writer or thinker, there’s a good chance the Library of Congress has some holdings that could be of specific interest to you. We want to tell you more about the history of the Library of Congress, information about conducting research there, and some of the specific items and collections that are housed there. When it comes to rare books and objects, the Library of Congress has one of the most amazing collections you’ll ever find.

     
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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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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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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.

     
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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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