University of Virginia
Rare Book School, 10-14 January 2000

Instructor: Daniel Traister

You can send Traister an e-mail message at


NOTE: In general, this course follows the organization suggested by Roderick Cave's Rare Book Librarianship.

Ground rules: Please talk and interrupt (me; not each other). Don't let it rain all over you; open your mouths. This course has no grades. Speaking up cannot hurt you. The instructor and your classmates will welcome all questions. The only stupid question is the one you don't ask.

  1. Introduction of instructor and students

  2. What is a rare book?

  3. Collections

  4. Getting started

  5. Describing books bibliographically

  6. Acquisitions

  7. Describing collections

  8. Housing collections

  9. Readers and their delights


  11. IF TIME AND WEATHER PERMIT, we will (1) see if additional local library-oriented exhibitions are available for us to see; and (2 -- see your Student's Vade Mecum for details "Tuesday: Bookseller Night") visit local booksellers on our own.
    NOTES: As you visit exhibitions, bear in mind: intended (and actual) audience (apart from you and your fellow students); success or failure in representing the institution(s) mounting the show and in fulfilling what you take to be the show's apparent purpose; physical techniques of display; security (environmental and other); design; the way(s) information is presented (signs, labels, publications, if any); funding (if evident); and any additional aspects that may come to mind.

    Your Vade Mecum provides names and addresses of booksellers in this neighborhood. Whenever you visit them (Tuesday, Wednesday, or any other time), bear in mind: first, that booksellers are both human and also frequently quite knowledgeable; second, that they welcome visits from librarians and are more than happy to work with librarians even if (on any given day) we may be buying nothing at all; third, that specialist and antiquarian booksellers carry huge varieties of books; fourth, that their prices are not always astronomical; and fifth, that you may find it possible, in visiting them, to buy something if you have that sort of responsibility for your institution or interest for yourself. If you do buy something -- whether for your institution or for yourself -- please bring it to class (unless you had it shipped) to discuss why you bought it. And be prepared to discuss your impression of the experience of visiting a bookseller.

  12. Discussion of Tuesday/Wednesday visits with UVa curatorial staff and booksellers

  13. Exhibitions: their mounting and their functions

  14. Reference

  15. Publicity

  16. Publications

  17. Funding

  18. Staffing

  19. Continuing education for rare book, manuscript, and special collections librarians

  20. Organizations and networking

  21. Specific questions/issues/problems -- followed by course evaluation


    Go to REFERENCE.

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