Friday, December 25, 2015

2016 Thoughts on Teaching Rare Books and the History of the Book

Once again, I am preparing to teach my course on Rare Book Librarianship and the History of the Book in an online mode. It's a daunting task that requires a balancing act of lecturing, demonstrating, exercises, and encouraging students to explore this broad and complex subject. I'm not the only historian or librarian or bibliophile who is teaching about this topic in the online mode. I know from past semesters that the physical experience of handling paper and parchment, looking at manuscripts and 500 year old books is lost. On the other hand, the virtual world of books holds many visual books, manuscripts, illustrations, and formats. More examples and facsimiles are available each year. 

So what's in store for my upcoming class? An introduction to bibliography in all its facets and varieties, a chance to study the printing history of a book they select, and the opportunity to explore the riches of the world of books, illustration, illumination, and texts. 

The syllabus is overflowing with articles, videos, and examples. Here's last year's syllabus for the curious reader It will be updated a few days before the course begins on January 18, 2016.

 The Blackboard version (open to only my students this semester) contains my lectures that I refresh from year to year. 

There are a few new books and articles I want to peruse before the semester starts. They will add flavor and context to my lectures. I diligently add the titles of interesting history, fiction, and non-fiction to the syllabus under "For Your Entertainment." This year, I'll be adding that list to separate page on my website and probably to my GoodReads feed. 

It's a bold adventure I'm undertaking this spring, with a promise to myself to reflect on the topic more, and to update this blog regularly with thoughts, ideas, and links.  
Until January...