May 16, 2022

University of North Carolina: A Look at the UNC University Libraries Collection of More Than 1800 Pop-Up Books

From the University of North Carolina:

Kenny Jones, library assistant for University Libraries at the School of Information and Library Science, displays a pop-up adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland outside Manning Hall. The book is one of 1,800 pop-up books in the University’s collection. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

The University Libraries’ collection of pop-up books at the UNC School of Information and Library Science is one of the country’s larger such collections, with more than 1,800 titles on everything from obscure subjects to today’s popular culture. Each has unique ways to fill readers with wonder.

“If there’s a subject and a pop-up book on it, we probably have it,” said Kenny Jones, library assistant.

With their beginnings in the 13th century, pop-up or moveable books began to be mass produced in Europe during the mid-1800s. American firms first published them in the late-1800s. “The Aquarium,” one of the first titles published in America around 1880, is the oldest pop-up book in Carolina’s library.

The collection was small until 2015, said Rebecca Vargha, information and library science librarian. That year, the late Sterling Hennis, professor emeritus in the School of Education, and his wife Anita donated more than 1,300 pop-up books to the University Libraries. Since then, other donations and purchases by library staff have enlarged the collection for use by students, scholars and the public.


Most daily use of the collection, Jones said, is by people who hear about the books and come in by themselves or with children. “People are curious. They want to see what a pop-up book is and how it moves. It depends on the complexity of the paper engineering, but if the paper mechanics are interactive, they’re great for children of all ages.”

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (approx. 1500 words) and View Images of Several Books in the Collection

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.