January 26, 2022

Virginia’s Rare Book School Attracts the World’s Bibliophiles

From a Column Appearing on TheRecord.com:

Welcome to Rare Book School, summer camp for bibliophiles. Tucked in the basement of the cavernous main library at the University of Virginia, the school is an annual five-week homage to the printed page. Or is it an elegy?


Founded at New York’s Columbia University in 1983, Rare Book School relocated to Charlottesville in 1992 as a nonprofit affiliate of the University of Virginia and found a niche as a place for librarians and scholars to decode the story told by the book itself: the ink, the paper, the typeface, the binding, the illustrations, the subtle notations in the margins.

“You have to teach people how to read the object, not just how to read the book,” said Michael Suarez, a Jesuit priest and English literature scholar who left a post at Oxford to run the school two years ago.


Bookbinding and publishing lore once were the province of library schools. But they strayed from that mission over the decades, Suarez said, to follow the gradual migration of information from printed pages to electronic screens. Some have dropped the word “library” from their names.

Read the Complete Column

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.