In 2001, Rare Book School began offering scholarships with resources provided by the school’s James Davis Scholarship Fund (see below for more information about James Davis, UCLA’s Rare Books Librarian and a long-time RBS staff member).
In June 2005, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, made a substantial grant to RBS for an expanded scholarship program, under IMLS's “Librarians for the 21st Century” program: 50 IMLS-funded scholarships will be awarded in the current cycle, and an additional 50 awards will be available in each of the 2006 and 2007 scholarship cycles. The RBS scholarship fund also receives annual support from the Book Club of California and from the Friends of Rare Book School, and it has recently received generous support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
With funding support from IMLS, the Rare Book School scholarship program is particularly directed at persons representing (or in training to represent) traditionally under-served communities.
Full-tuition scholarships are available for RBS five-day courses on various aspects of research and special collections librarianship, including (but by no means limited to):
- Introduction to Special Collections Librarianship
- Introduction to the History of the Book in the West
- Rare Book Cataloging
- Developing Collections of African-American Literature
- Electronic Texts and Images
- Implementing Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
Founded in 1983 and since 1992 based at the University of Virginia, RBS is an independent, non-profit and tax-exempt institute supporting the study of the history of books and printing, rare books, and special collections. Each year, it offers about 30 five-day non-credit continuing education courses on these and related subjects, both in Charlottesville and elsewhere in the northeastern United States. For more information about the school and its faculty, and for a schedule of forthcoming courses, visit /2005/rbs/schedule.html.
Please note: Those seeking RBS scholarships submit applications without reference to any particular RBS course or session, and scholarships in turn are awarded without reference to admission to any particular course. Those awarded scholarships will have credit in the RBS tuition bank that they can then use to pay for any course to which they are thereafter admitted during the following two years.
The 2005 Davis Scholarship Committee comprises:
Melissa Mead (Digital and Visual Resources Librarian, University of Rochester) chair, through 2007; David Zeidberg (Avery Director, Huntington Library) through 2006; Nathaniel Adams (formerly Assistant Director for Programs, RBS) through 2008; Vic Zoschak (Tavistock Books, Alameda, CA) through 2009.
James Davis attended his first Rare Book School in 1985. He joined the RBS program staff in 1986, and he returned annually thereafter, both throughout RBS's Columbia years and then on to Virginia in the 1990s. He used to say that he already had as much management as he wanted to do at home (he was Rare Books Librarian at UCLA); at RBS, he developed a collection of non-administrative duties he made entirely his own, stretching from one end of each RBS week to the other: from mugshot photographer on Sunday night to course evaluation editor over the succeeding weekend. In between, he did the bulk of the RBS supplies-and-equipment shopping, edited Museum labels, acted as the Director's conscience ("It's just me: Jiminy Cricket!"), and made himself generally available to do whatever had to be done next. He was unfailingly interested in RBS students, and he spent a great deal of time talking to them both at breaks and after class in the evening.
We expected him as usual at the RBS January 2000 session, but he stayed home to undergo what he told us was a fairly routine bypass operation. In the event, he never regained consciousness after surgery, and he died in the hospital on February 3rd.
The RBS staff operates on the principle of interchangeable parts: there are few jobs that can't, if necessary, be done by whoever's handy. But nobody on our staff was like James Davis, who combined a vast knowledge of RBS's collections and customs with an unflaggingly sunny disposition, and RBS cannot be the same without him.
Over the years, we have had many discussions with both RBS students and RBS prospective students about the need for scholarship support for our courses. Here, finally, is a program that has the potential to grow to become a force of considerable benefit to the field of rare books. Present and future contributions to the James Davis Scholarship Fund endowment are welcome. Checks should be made payable to the James Davis Scholarship Fund and sent to Rare Book School.