Students’ Choice: Selections from Pequot Library’s Special Collection in Exhibit at both
Pequot Library and Fairfield University DiMenna-Nyselius Library
February and March, 2012
Dan Snydacker, Executive Director of Pequot Library, had a feeling it would be fun when he started the course he taught last semester at Fairfield University titled “From Codex to Kindle: The Art and History of the Book.”
Turns out, he was right. The course surveyed the history of the book as a work of art from cuneiform to incunabula; through early moveable type to eBooks. It focused on the beauty of the printed page, the increasingly rapid rate of change in the technologies used for producing books and the images they contain, along with the economics and markets for books. It helped students see the book as a lens through which to observe the changes in the world of art, literature, and society as a whole. It used Pequot Library’s internationally important Special Collection to illustrate the themes of the course and as the primary sources for the main assignment the students had to complete.
As the final project for the course, each student was responsible for selecting and researching a set of books chosen from Pequot’s Special Collection, and preparing a “book biography” for each. Those selections and biographies form the basis for this exhibit which includes material on display at both Pequot Library and Fairfield University DiMenna-Nyselius Library
There are a total of seventeen rare and beautiful books on display at both sites – six at the University and the rest on display at the Library. In addition, there is an interactive computer station at Pequot where visitors can explore all sorts of hyperlinks that enhance the labels for each work and “add-in” their comments and their own on-the-spot research into the works on exhibit.
Curtis Ferree, Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian at the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, took the course, and embraced the exhibit at his Library as an extension of the entire class’s learning experience. He was assisted by Hayley Battaglia, a Library Assistant at the University, who did the supplementary photography, and the display there is the result of their hard work and creativity.
At Pequot, Victoria Konopka assisted with many aspects of the exhibit, and is working on a web-module of the Library’s Special Collection Cataloguing program so the exhibit will continue to be available on the Library’s web site after it comes down.
In addition, visitors to the exhibit at Pequot can volunteer to “Be A Curator” for the next exhibit at the Library. Those that are interested will be given a brief training session, and then allowed to pour through the catalogue of the Library’s Special Collection, pick out three or four books, research them thoroughly and put them on display. Dan Snydacker will guide the volunteers every step of the way and be the general editor for the project.
There will be a reception honoring the work of the students on Thursday, March 22 at 4:00p.m. The reception will start at the DiMenna-Nyselius Library on the campus of the University. Additional volumes focusing on the art of natural history will be brought over from Pequot and the pages turned so those in attendance can explore the contents more fully. The reception will continue with more page turning at Pequot Library at 5:30.
Students in the class “From Codex to Kindle: the Art and History of the Book” taught at Fairfield University in the fall semester of 2011 were:
Pequot Library is located at 720 Pequot Avenue, in the Southport section of Fairfield CT. Hours are Mon–Fri 9–6: Sat 9–5: Sun 11–3. Fairfield University is located at 1073 North Benson Road Fairfield, go to http://www.fairfield.edu/about/about_directions.html#car.
All of the photos were taken by Hayley Battaglia.