Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Back at Rare Book School!

Since I've mentioned it a few times, I guess I should actually point out that I am in fact back at the wonderful place that is Rare Book School this summer; LibraryThing very graciously (and patiently) agreed to share me with RBS for the session weeks, so I am enjoying the first week in Charlottesville now (I'll be here this week and next, then home to Portland for two weeks to unpack the books and actually spend some time in the new city, then back to CVille for the July sessions).

As I repeatedly tried to make clear last year, there's no place on earth quite like RBS for the meeting of like bibliophilic minds (I'm writing this just minutes after a fellow staff member and I spent several minutes getting very excited about the colophon page of Holinshed's Chronicles). The staff, the faculty, and the students all combine to make this a marvelous incubator for discussions about books and their people.

This week I'm assisting with Stephen Tabor's new class, Analytical Bibliography, which is garnering rave reviews from his students. They've been doing a range of hands-on demos, including typesetting and correcting yesterday which was a great deal of fun for all (including me, since I got to help). Tomorrow night they'll be visiting UVA's Hinman Collator for a demonstration of the techniques involved with that process.

And that's just one of the five classes happening this week: Mark Dimunation and John Buchtel's History of the Book Class is currently off on a field trip viewing rarities at the Library of Congress, while Sue Allen is wowing her students with her awe-inspiring knowledge of 19th-century American publishers' bindings. Terry Belanger's Book Illustration Processes students have been hard at work practicing their techniques and viewing many examples of the various illustration processes, and Deborah Leslie has been keeping her hardy crop of rare book catalogers hard at work!

For all the courses offered this summer, see the RBS 2011 schedule.

Even beyond the classes, there's much going on. The Monday lecture this week featured Ann Blair, whose book Too Much To Know I reviewed late last year (and very much enjoyed). Her talk, which stemmed from the book, was fascinating, and featured some really neat illustrations of her points (some of which didn't make it into the book). Tonight Terry Belanger will be speaking on teaching with Audubons, which I'm very much looking forward to as well, given my personal interest in Audubon's works.

More soon, I'm sure, but for now, that's what I'm up to!

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