May 22, 2022

Meet the University of Washington Libraries’ Keeper of Rare Books and Artifacts

From The Seattle Times:

Since 1968, Sandra Kroupa has worked in the University of Washington’s Special Collections. Now, as book arts and rare-book curator, she provides access to a vast collection of books, ranging from historical artifacts to contemporary artist books. Each is gasp-worthy, to someone.


“My job,” she says, “is to find something in this collection that when I put it in your hands, you are moved to tears.

In an increasingly digital age, Kroupa believes that the physical book has meaning, that holding a historic or unique book is different from viewing it on a screen. She’s concerned that our culture is moving from things to pictures of things. It’s like art, she says; you can spend years studying and looking at reproductions of paintings, and then you visit a museum and see the real thing. “You realized that what you’ve been seeing is just the skeleton, some kind of amorphous thing. It’s not the art — you have to have the art there. And I think books are exactly the same way.”

Direct to Complete Article (approx 2300 words)

See Also: University of Washington Special Collections

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.