34. Introduction to Rare Book Librarianship (Session II)
(The course was offered twice in RBS 1994; this is the evaluation
of the second 1994 session. See above, no. 26, for the
evaluation of the first RBS 1994 session)
For a description of this course, see above, no. 26. The first
session of the course is intended for professional librarians who
have had no formal training in this field but whose duties now
include the administration or care of rare book collections. This
session of the course is open to all those with an interest in
rare book librarianship, whether or not they are currently working in
a library or have had formal training in the field.
I. How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Very useful -- provided good overview of the basic
issues that were then addressed. 2: Very.
3: Very. 4: They were indicative of the range of
topics to be discussed. 5: Useful. 6: Reading
was not necessary for the course per se -- ie, it was not
discussed in class. But they are critical readings if you are
serious about the profession. 7: Very relevant.
8: The readings were useful but too extensive for me to
be able to complete. Much of it, however, did not apply
directly to what was discussed in class. 9: They were
useful in preparation and could have been more useful had we
discussed them, especially those written by persons other than
the instructor. 10: Fine, but too much to cover in the
three weeks I had after acceptance (but I applied late).
12: Quite useful. Helped me think about rare book
librarianship in a kind of theoretical vacuum that is
impossible to construct while at work.
II. Was your faculty member well-prepared to teach THIS
1: Eminently. 2: Yes -- very. 3:
Absolutely. 4: Yes. 5: Very well prepared.
6: Of course! And other courses as well. 7:
Excellent teacher! Vast background, experience, etc.
Yes, very prepared. 9: Yes. 10: Absolutely.
11: Yes. DT is obviously very knowledgeable in his
field. 12:Yes, DT was a font of informative anecdotes.
I learned a great deal from his sharing of his own (and
III. Was the intellectual level of the course content
1: Yes -- an even mix of abstraction and application.
2: Yes. 3: Absolutely. 4-5: Yes.
6: Yes. It was what he and we made it. 7: Yes.
8:For the most part. Much knowledge was assumed,
however, for an introductory course, which was described as
requiring no prior knowledge of rare book librarianship.
9: Yes. 10: Entirely. 11: Yes. Although
the tales were amusing and fun, I felt they sometimes took
away from the discussions at hand. I think DT handled the
problem of different student levels well. 12: Yes,
although it was ``lower impact'' than I had expected.
IV. If your course had field trips, were they effective?
1: Yes. 2: Yes -- would have liked additional time,
though. 3-4: Yes. 5: Generally. Perhaps the
instructor could have held his comments until classroom time
to allow the Special Collections librarian more time to
discuss her job. 6: We visited Special Collections -- very
useful in general, although I had done something similar
before. 7: Yes. Visit to Special Collections was
especially relevant. 8: Yes, the tour of the special
collections department and the current exhibit were very good.
9: Well spent in hearing Kathryn Morgan and seeing the
exhibit, but I would have liked to see the collections, too,
or part of them. 10: Yes (a visit to UVa Special
Collections). 11: I thought the trip was worthwhile. I
would have liked to talk to a few other staff members -- maybe
some time for informal discussion with them. 12: I was
hoping to get a tour of the physical plant.
V. Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS
brochure description and Expanded Course Description? Did the
course in general meet your expectations?
1: Yes and yes. 2: Yes -- although more people in
the course were involved in special collections than I had
expected. 3: I was a bit disappointed that we didn't
spend more time with books: learning how to handle
them, talking about identifying bindings,
learning how to determine potential conservation and
preservation problems and consequent decisions, etc. 4-5:
Yes. 6: I think I expected more ``do this, do that''
and in fact hoped for it. But in retrospect, I think upon
reflecting upon the course content a week from now, I'll probably
say to myself, ``Oh, yes, DT said do -- -- .'' 7: As
I remember the description, yes. The course definitely met
expectations. 8: No -- see no.3, above. 9:
Corresponded very exactly, but I had applied for the
previous week's version and was told that this one would be
adapted a bit. I would have liked more actual study of actual
books, more cited references of standard reference books (even
a list to take home to share). 10: Yes, in all
respects. 11: Basically, yes. But I would have liked more
information on staff management -- and other relationships
within the department. (Really my fault -- I should have asked!)
12: The course description, maybe necessarily, led me
to believe that lecture and discussion would be more formal
-- that more facts would have been related, even if they were
VI. What did you like best about the course?
1: Instructor's serious attention to the issues
combined with a great deal of humor in the presentation.
2: Instructor was entertaining as well as informative.
Informal atmosphere. Useful information. 3: The
instructor. 4: The engaging manner of the instructor
drawing on his vast experience. 5: Interaction with
other librarians and rare book people. Relaxed and interactive
tone of the class. Very informed instructor. 6: DT! His
intellectual wittiness and sarcastic cynicism and absolutely
delightful prose made each hour-and-a-half sitting in one
place bearable. 7: The instructor's personal interest
in course members. Anecdotes which acted as moral fables.
8: I liked the way DT used stories and anecdotes from
his own experience with rare book librarianship as a wonderful
tool for teaching. He seems to have a real gift for
storytelling. 9: Congeniality and conversation with fellow
students; obvious ability of the instructor. 10: The
opportunity to hear from someone who thoroughly knows the
profession and who was able to impart knowledge without an
``attitude'' (ie, DT is not your typical academic shit, but upon
reflection, no one at RBS has been an academic shit,
praise God!). DT is a great person, an informed scholar, and
a thorough professional! 11: I liked the first few
days the best, in discussing the vagueness of the term ``rare
book.'' This was to my mind the most thought-provoking
material offered. 12: The intensive nature of it -- coming
together with people with varying work experience and
VII. How could the course have been improved?
1: More visuals, perhaps. 2: More hands-on
experience with RLIN or other; more time spent in Special
Collections. 3: See no.5, above. 4: No
suggestions. 5: More information about selection and
identification of rare books. 6: Actually, a little
more ``do this, do that.'' Or maybe an individual or small
group, ``here's my institution, Help!'' 9: More
hands-on with rare books to illustrate the terms we will be, and
are, using and seeing on occasion. Course was by
lecture -- I felt that there was plenty of ``filler.''
I thought we could have talked more about manuscripts
management (also, see the previous comment). 12:
real live books into the discussions of rarity and
VIII. Any final thoughts?
1: Be prepared to think and laugh. 2:
This is (was) extremely helpful to me; information was
practical as well as theoretical. I plan to attend next summer
if finances allow. The course left me with definite goals for
the future and immediate plans to make. 3: This is a
great school. I will be back next year. Oh yeah, the
classrooms are way too cold! 4: None. Highly
recommended. 5: Bring an umbrella! 6: My sister
sells for a T-shirt, sweatshirt company. Sell RBS sweatshirts
first break each session to the people who didn't remember
their sweaters -- and RBS totes to carry all our stuff.
Many thanks for the thoughtful purchase of
umbrellas!! Do evaluations right after lunch on Day 5. By 3:40
all you want to do is LEAVE! 7: Read everything
assigned, stay on The Lawn, make as many new friends as
possible, don't plan any additional activities -- immerse yourself in
the experience. I think as with my first year at university I
learned as much from my fellow students as from the
instructor. (This is not meant to demean the quality of the
instructor, who was excellent, but to indicate
that the learning experience is the total of the
9: You'll like the beautiful campus, the well-organized
preparations, the capable staff and director. And you'll enjoy
the lectures, too, especially TB's report. 11: I would
make sure to find out about any prior reading, and also to
think a lot about my profession before going into class -- even
making a list or notes of possible discussion in case the
topics I need don't get covered. 12: Do the readings
beforehand so you have a clear idea of some of the issues and
can take full advantage of getting opinions of the instructor
Number of respondents: 12
Leave Tuition Housing Travel
Institution Institution Institution Institution
gave me leave paid tuition paid housing paid travel
100% 71% 44% 42%
I took vaca- I paid tui- I paid for my I paid my own
tion time tion myself own housing travel
0% 29% 31% 42%
N/A: self- N/A: Self- N/A: stayed N/A: lived
employed, re- employed, with friends nearby
tired, or had retired, or or lived at
summers off exchange home
0% 0% 25% 16%
Three students (26%) were general librarians with unspecified
rare book duties; two students (18%) were archivist/manuscript
librarians; and one student (8% each) was an archivist/manuscript
librarian/general librarian with unspecified rare book duties, an
archivist/manuscript librarian/rare book librarian, an
archivist/manuscript librarian/rare book
art museum librarian, a music librarian, a rare book librarian, or
a special collections library assistant (``a paraprofessional
ranking that no doubt involves parachuting behind enemy