Monday, September 21, 2009

Calling All Collectors: Good Books, Great Advice

On Sunday, September 27, 2009, Dr. Libby Chenault of the Rare Book Collection of the Wilson Special Collections Library, will be hosting a program entitled, "Calling All Collectors: Good Books, Great Advice." The event will be at 2pm in the Rare Book Collection Reading Room, and is free and open to the public.

Does the thought of McGuffey Readers bring back memories that make you want to hold one again? Do you appreciate old comic books, or 21st-century graphic novels, or beautiful book bindings? Need advice about what to do with a family library you’ve inherited? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then you may already be a book collector, or may wish to think about becoming one.

On Sunday, September 27, at 2 p.m., in the Wilson Special Collections Library, a free, public program, “Calling All Collectors: Good Books, Great Advice,” will explore book collecting and provide information and resources for novice and prospective collectors. Dr. Libby Chenault, interim Curator of Rare Books, will cover the topics of condition; age; caring for books; determination of value; and strategies for starting and building a collection. Examples from the Library’s collections will be on display to demonstrate condition, era, printing type, illustrations, and format.

Chenault will talk about how paper ages, how to determine whether a first edition is valuable, and even how to spot fake author signatures. There are other things to watch out for in collecting, too. “Many people can’t imagine that if a 20th-century book is missing a dust jacket, then its price may be halved,” said Chenault. Chenault points out that books can offer happier surprises, too. Sometimes they are multi-format, including features such as fore-edged paintings, the scenes painted on edges of a book’s pages and visible only when the pages are fanned–and not when the book is closed.

At the end of the program, participants will have an opportunity to discuss items brought from home (limit of one or two per person, please) with Rare Book Collection staff. The Library does not provide appraisals but can assist with advice and referrals.

Experienced collectors who wish to join with other bibliophiles are also invited to the Rare Book Collection’s advanced collecting group. Contact Dr. Chenault at (919) 962-1143 or

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