January 20, 2022

Washington University in St. Louis Student Newspaper Reports on Library’s Rare Books Collection

From Student Life:

When I opened the Gutenberg Bible, the oldest book in both the library and the Western world, I was hit with a sense of reverence; a sense that I was looking at something that changed the world. This is first-hand learning in it’s purest form, and it’s what attracted 50 classes to the Rare Books Collection last year.

“The question we always get is ‘Can we really touch that?’” said Anne Poesga, head of the Department of Special Collections at Olin Library.


About half of the classes that visit the department come from the history, literature and classics departments. What fewer people may suspect is that is that the most heavy users of the collection are art students, Posega said. The Rare Books Collection aims to give students a respect for the way a book’s form meets it’s function in the art of making books by hand before mass-production. This respect is a tradition that dates back centuries, one which the Rare Books Collection documents through its expanding inventory.

Complete Article

See Also: Dept. of Special Collections Rare Books Pamphlet (PDF; via Washington U. Libraries)

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.