Archive for July, 2012

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Book Tasting Event Results

Last weekend at the Iowa City Book Festival, Special Collections & University Archives hosted a Book Tasting event in the Old Capitol.  As a closed stack library usually researchers and readers already have an item in mind when they come to see us.  “Search” will turn up very different results from “browse” as a strategy and so to make it possible to find an unknown favorite, we created a Book Tasting event.   Inspired by wine tasting parties, a “Book Tasting” features a selection of books that the “tasters” have not seen before to browse, add ratings, and perhaps find an unexpected favorite.  Then when the ratings are tallied, a crowd favorite will emerge.

The collection of books we put together for the event was inspired by the exhibition across the hall in the Old Capitol Museum, “Insects: A Collection in Multiple Dimensions.”  We selected 20 scientific books from the 18th and 19th centuries that have illustrations of collections of things.  These collections include everything from an entire four volumes dedicated to every species of antelope to books on butterflies, mollusks, quadrupeds, or flowers. Due to the nature of scientific study at the time these are books that are illustrated in great detail and in the 100+ years represented in the sample, book illustration itself changes dramatically.  The books also make it clear how these types of books were used in the 19th century as the University of Iowa got its start.  Many bear traces such as singed edges and library bindings that tell the story of their survivial from the 1897 North Hall fire while many others bear the stamps of their former owners, eventual donors to the collections such as Dr. Mark Ranney and D.H. Talbot

Though our end goal was to find a crowd favorite what emerged from the data collected was a picture of how diverse people’s interests are.  15 of the 20 books were listed as someone’s favorite.  Three books tied to be the crowd favorite, #9 Popular Greenhouse Botany, #17 The Birds of Great Britain, and #20 History of Quadrupeds

If you could not make it to the event please enjoy the gallery of images on Flickr that will give you a “taste” of what was there, including a cover, title page, and image from the book for each item that was featured. The crowd favorites will be featured this week in our “pop-up” exhibit case right inside the door.  Find your favorite, and as always, feel free to stop by anytime to enjoy these books in Special Collections. 

Click on the link  to view the whole gallery on Flickr.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/uispeccoll/sets/72157630657536852/

 

*See librarian Buffy Hamilton “The Unquiet Librarian” for more information on “Book Tasting” events in other contexts.

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Sample a Rare Vintage at our Book Tasting Event

Fern book cover and flower illustrationSample a selection of vintage illustrated books exploring the natural world pulled from the stacks of Special Collections & University Archives at our Book Tasting event at the Iowa City Book Festival. Browse 19th century  botany, gardening, children’s textbooks, animals, herbals and more! “Sample” a book, add some tags to help future browsers identify its “flavor” and finish it off with a rating. The highest rated item will be featured in our “popup” case inside Special Collections and through social media.  Stop by, browse, sample, and enjoy! 

3:00PM-4:00PM July 14th  the Old Capitol Museum Supreme Court.

Book festival schedule:  http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org//schedule/view/20120714/

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Zine Month in Special Collections

Happy International Zine Month! Throughout July Special Collections & University Archives will be celebrating by highlighting zines from our collections.

Every day this month, Olson Fellow (and zine enthusiast) Kalmia Strong will be selecting a zine from our collections to share on Twitter. Follow us @UISpecColl to see her picks, which will cover a broad range of subjects, styles, and locations.

We will also have a cart of zines in the reading room for drop-in reading. Anyone is welcome to come in and spend a few minutes (or hours!) browsing the zines. They include art zines, Riot Grrrl zines, science fiction fanzines, and zines made in Iowa, among many others.

Did you know that we have approximately 20 collections of zines adding up to over 500 linear feet?  They range in subject from sci-fi to food to punk to comics to feminism, and date from the 1940s to the present. We also regularly receive donations of zines. Two recent acquisitions are several issues of Dishwasher and Moonbeam #3 .These zines are very different in focus but are both excellent examples of the scope of self-produced publications, produced on a copy machine, bound with staples, and distributed through the mail for little more than the price of materials.

Dishwasher was published by Pete Jordan (AKA Dishwasher Pete) in fifteen issues from 1989-2001, and chronicles his journey across the United States washing dishes in every state. By turns tongue-in-cheek, political, and personal, it includes stories of work as a dishwasher, contributions from other dishwashers, collage, comics, quotes, and movie reviews (focusing on dishwashing scenes, of course).

Moonbeam #3 was published in 1978 by Deborah M. Walsh, and was one of the first Star Wars fanzines created after the film was released in 1977. It is an anthology of contributions of original art, fan fiction, and poetry, with a focus on Alec Guinness/Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is particularly interesting to look at early Star Wars zines because of the great excitement and speculation about characters and plot that would be revealed in later films and because of the complicated relationship between Twentieth Century Fox and the growing community of Star Wars fans.

Walsh writes on her website: “Everyone warned me that I shouldn’t try to do a Star Wars zine, because at the time, conventions were frequently the scene to FBI search and seizures of bootlegged Star Wars merchandise. But I was headstrong and crazy for the Force. It proved to be an amazing experience publishing this zine.”

If you’d like to learn more about zines or browse our zine collections, check out our Zine Resources page, or stop by the department on the third floor of the Main Library 8:30AM-5PM Monday through Friday.