Alice Schreyer

L-10: Special Collections Librarianship

16–20 July 2012

1)    How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)

1: Good for starting me thinking about the content of the week. Didn't really factor into class discussion directly. 2: The readings were useful for general preparation and for starting to think about some of the issues we would discuss, although we did not discuss the readings themselves. The Carter book will be useful for future learning and reference. 3: Useful; helped focus my attention towards a realm I'd not thought about lately. 4: The readings were very helpful for me, especially because I am not a trained or experienced special collections librarian. I also printed out some basic diagrams to help me visualize vocabulary, like an early press and the parts of a book. 5: They were fairly useful though I found the suggestion to commit the ABC for Book Collectors to "rote memory" a bit ridiculous. It is a reference book! 6: Relevant and useful. 7: Though not really necessary, they were a great way to start thinking about special collections in a variety of ways. 8: Very useful. Carter will be a companion book. 9: Very useful—I'm glad to have the Carter book and I will consult it regularly from now on. 10: Useful for context, but much of the course reiterated what I'd read. 11: The readings were very useful and appropriate. Everyone should own the ABC for Book Collectors. 12: I read all pre-course readings and they were moderately helpful. The course workbook provided prior to the course would have been exceptionally useful. 13: The pre-course readings were well-selected. 14: Very useful.

2)    Were the course workbook and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?

1: Very happy to have the workbook/coursework. Will be very helpful in the future. 2: Yes, I expect the information in the workbook will be useful in the future and serve as a reminder of the course material. 3: Invaluable! I know I'll refer to the workbook frequently. 4: We used the workbook frequently in class, and Alice Schreyer (AS) made useful, practical selections. I think I will refer to it at my library, and share some things with my director. 5: The workbook will be extremely useful. I plan to read it next week when the course content is still fresh. I know I will refer to the documents frequently and use them as a base for operational and strategic planning. 6: Excellent, will refer to the workbook in the future. 7: Yes. I will be holding onto these for a long time, especially as I am at the beginning of my career. 8: The course workbook is wonderful. I look forward to using it to guide my decision making. 9: Absolutely. The course workbook is going right on my desk when I return—I'm going to read it from cover to cover, and I know I'll use it constantly for reference, ideas, and support. 10: Yes. 11: Yes. An invaluable reference source, and included URLs where applicable. 12: Yes, appropriate and useful. The workbook will be very helpful when I return to work. 13: The workbook is highly appropriate and I will use it as a reference tool in my library. 14: Yes, they will be most helpful in the future.

3) Have you taken one or more RBS courses before? If so, how did this course compare with your previous coursework?

1: Yes, one previously. This course was different, not history but dealing with administrative matters. Complementary, though. 2: This was my first RBS course. 4: This was my first course. 5-6: No. 7: No. This is my first RBS experience. 8: No. 9: No. This was my first time at RBS. 10-11: No. 12: Yes. This was one of the most useful courses I have taken at RBS. 13: This was my first course. 14: No.

4)    What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes?

1: Aspects of public service, promotion, integration with rest. 2: Information about areas distinct to special collections that I had previous familiarity with, such as transfers and how metadata creation relates to security. 3: In some cases, new information and ways of thinking will be useful; but also, some important points of rationale and justification will be of help in posing convincing arguments to administrators. 4: The administrative portions were very practical and the topics broken out in a logical way, but I found learning about the rare books themselves of the greatest interest. 5: The items held in the UVA's Special Collections were of greatest interest. Everything covered in the course was relevant. 6: All aspects of the course content were relevant. Instructor's knowledge and experience were immeasurably valuable. 7: I am really interested in becoming more involved in outreach and instruction and publicity of special collections. I also loved discussing how new technology and media can be used to advance special collections. 8: Book knowledge. It was very useful to hear AS describe books and use the proper terminology. 9: The practical tips on the day-to-day operations of special collections—proper handling, security, exhibits, outreach, collection development, &c. 10: Copyrights, ephemera, digitization. 11: I enjoyed getting the perspective of the UVA Special Collections librarians. I felt it was also important to get the perspective of my colleagues in the class. 12: Digital collections and manuscripts. 13: I enjoyed the thorough overview of all aspects of special collections librarianship. 14: Practiced advice and the life examples.

5)    Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?

1: Yes. 2: Yes, it was a comprehensive overview of the field. The level was appropriately accessible for an introduction. 3: Yes, close – I wish I had gained even more depth of training, conservation, budget, space, information on how to focus collections—AS condensed a lifetime of experience into a week. There is a lot to learn! 4: Yes, I felt the information conveyed was at an appropriate intellectual level, and it was what I expected from the course description. Our instructor did an excellent job of customizing the content, or making it individually relevant, to all of the students. 5: Absolutely. AS is a phenomenal instructor. The intellectual level was exactly where I needed it to be. 6: AS works hard to meet the individual interests of participants, which were diverse. 7: Having received my MLIS only last year, I was familiar with many of the concepts discussed, but as I have not been able to utilize all of that knowledge over the past year, it was a great refresher. I also learned a lot of new information and got personal experiences from others. AS was fantastic! 8: Yes, all information was well-conveyed. The course might benefit from being a bit more challenging. 9: Yes, and yes. 10: Information, yes. Skills, not as much. Intellectual level was appropriate. 11: Yes, and yes. It allowed me to take a step back from my current position and see special collections in a broader light. 12: Yes. The intellectual level was appropriate. 13: Yes! 14: Yes.

6) What did you like best about the course?

1: Discussion prompted by instructor or guest presenter. Thought-provoking. 2: The opportunity for hands-on examination of books and the visit to the UVA Special Collections (UVA SC). 3: It was a very logically-organized overview of a huge and complex field. 4: The transfer exercise, hands-on activities, and time spent at the UVA SC. 5: The practicality of the information presented. 6: Learning from other participants in the course but particularly the knowledge of the instructor. 7: Our class discussions were very useful. It gave me new perspectives about various issues that my colleagues are currently dealing with, and how they are working out these issues. 8: AS. AS's expertise and experience is admirable and she is a very gracious leader. 9: AS and again, the practical advice she gave us that will be tremendously useful on a day-to-day basis when I return to work. All of her real world examples were incredibly useful and helped me put concepts into context. 10: Visit to Digitization Services and the hunt for books in the stacks that might be candidates for placement in UVA SC. 11: Loved the book description and transfer exercises. 12: Open discussion around general topics. 13: AS is a wonderful instructor. 14: It gives a good foundational knowledge to a newly-minted or just starting special collections librarian.

7) How could the course have been improved?

1: Perhaps more "problem solving" exercises or case studies. 2: Nothing specific that I can think of. 3: Not sure. 4: It was great, but maybe a few more active learning exercises? 5: Send out the evaluation online after the course so there is time to reflect on content covered. 6: Larger, better reception room. 7: I just wish we had more time! 9: More hands-on exercises would be great, but I honestly don't know if it's feasible with the time constraints. I wouldn't want to give up much—if any—of the lecture content. 10: More discussion, less one-way communication from instructor. 11: More book descriptions! 12: Cover fewer topics in greater depth. This might require an introductory class and an advanced course. 13: It would be nice to learn more about the libraries where participating classmates came from. 14: A visit to the UVA Special Collections stacks would be useful.

8)    Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn?

1-2: Yes. 3: Yes. As much as possible in the time available. 4-14: Yes.

9)    Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course?

1-2: Yes. 3: Yes. It was a good beginning—I've learned more about what I need to learn. 4: Yes. I really did! 5-6: Yes. 7: Yes. Though it did make me more aware of areas in which I should pursue further education. 8-10: Yes. 11: Yes. AS was very flexible in what could be discussed in class. 12: Could have used more time on digital projects and initiatives. 13-14: Yes.

10)  How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?

1: To improve the way my library's special collections function to enhance teaching/learning at my institution. 2: I hope that knowledge from the course will eventually help guide my career in a special collections direction. 3: I hope that by taking this class, I will be considered for a special collections librarian position at my institution – though I intend to continue my studies to gain further knowledge. 4: Where to start? First by making a list and trying to prioritize tasks. Come up with short and long-term goals. Try to act on something quickly, to keep up my momentum. 5: I plan to work with my department head to implement strategies learned so that our department operates more efficiently. 6: The knowledge I'm coming away with will directly inform my current projects. I plan also to revise my professional goals for the coming year with greater focus to using special collections material. 7: I intend to use my knowledge to try to improve on the current state of special collections at my institution and bring some new ideas. 8: I feel better equipped to engage colleagues and faculty in book history and conservation discussions. 9: I made notes in my class notes of projects to tackle when I get back. I'm also going to use the workbook a ton. 10: This course provided additional context for what I do; no clear example just yet. 11: I would like to apply the skills in determining how I want to shape my position. 12: Develop a digital collection of manuscripts as a test project. 13: I intend to apply what I have learned in my institution's upcoming strategic planning. 14: In my day-to-day work with our special collections.

11)  If your made any trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?

1-2: Yes. 3: Yes. Excellent and fascinating. 4: Absolutely. Going to the UVA SC to hear about instruction, view collections, and visit digitization services was extremely interesting. 5: Yes. 6: Yes. 7: Yes! I loved seeing the digitization and UVA SC. 9: Yes. 10: Yes. 11: We went on a field trip to UVA SC. The show-and-tell was fantastic and it was great to have a real-life example to compare with our own institutions. 12: Less helpful than class time. 13: Yes. We visited the UVA SC next door, and the time was well-spent. 14: Yes.

12) If you attended the optional evening events (e.g., RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?

1: Yes—good for building community, plus informative. 2: Did not attend. 3: Yes. Wonderful, thought-provoking. 4: I enjoyed the RBS lecture very much. The Forum not as much, but that was mostly because the talk wasn't about what I'd thought it would be. 5: N/A. 6: Yes. 7: I enjoyed Monday's lecture by Stuart Bennett (SB) enormously. Bookseller's Night was also a pleasure! 8: Yes. 9: Absolutely. 10: Mostly. 11: Definitely. A great way to network and learn something new. 12: N/A. 13: I attended on lecture and the Booksellers' Night. Both were very enjoyable and informative. 14: Lecture about bookbinding was the most interesting.

13)  We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by the UVA's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?

1: No suggestions. 2: No problems with handling. 3: No suggestions. 4: No suggestions. Everything looked appropriate to me. 5: Just make the announcement about not being in the classroom without a follower or instructor present on the first day, not the third. 6: Rules about entering classroom/lab should be made more explicit and emphasized before (Sunday evening) first day and again the first day of classes, I didn't know about the "follower" rule. 7: Everything seemed very well cared for. 9-10: N/A. 11: The sinks in the classrooms are great! Pencil sharpeners and more pencils. 13: I have no additional suggestions.

14)  Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Would you recommend this course to others?

1: Yes to both. 2: Yes. 3: The cost still seems steep, though we were told the real cost is much higher. I would recommend the course to anyone who has an interest in Special Collections Librarianship. 4: Yes. Well worth the money. I would recommend this course to others who need an overview/starting point to special collections. 5: Absolutely! Absolutely! 6: Yes, and yes. 7: Absolutely. 8: Yes. Yes. 9: Absolutely. Yes, and yes. Many thanks to AS for a wonderfully valuable week and to everyone at RBS for all the hard work. 10: Yes, and yes. 11: This course was invaluable! 12: Yes, yes. 13: Yes, and yes! 14: Yes.

15)  Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year? (If you have further RBS praise or concerns, or if you have suggestions for a new course, please contact Amanda Nelsen [] or Michael Suarez [].)

1: RBS is a great learning and confidence building experience. Well run. Serious but fun as well. 3: AS is an excellent teacher who really goes out of her way to know about her students, and include their individual knowledge and background. Includes all students in the discussion, never a cruel or negative word. Awesome! Thank you! 4: My compliments to AS for managing the time well while allowing us a lot of time to interact. My advice would be to come prepared to share, and interact in class. It is a small group and the more voices the better. 5: This is the perfect course for someone new to special collections librarianship. Everything you could possibly want to know was thoroughly covered. Thank you for offering the class. 6: AS was exceptional! The course was a gem because of her hard work and dedication to the learning experience. 7: Take notes in class, and then take time later to type them up. We cover a lot in a small time and this will help to absorb much more. 9: A truly fabulous experience. I'm already looking forward to coming back next year! 10: N/A.

Number of respondents: 14





Institution gave me leave


12 (86%)


I took vacation time


1 (7%)


N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off


1 (7%)


I am self-employed

Work has nothing to do with RBS course






Institution paid tuition


9 (64%)


Institution paid tuition ___%




I paid tuition myself


4 (29%)


Exchange or barter




N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship

1 (7%)




Institution paid housing


11 (79%)


Institution paid for ___% of housing




I paid for my own housing


3 (21%)


N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home







Institution paid travel


10 (71%)


Institution paid ___% of my travel




I paid my own travel


4 (29%)


N/A: lived nearby







There were one full-time student working towards M.L.I.S. (7%), two librarians with no rare book duties (14%), five librarians with some rare book duties (36%), one full or associate university professor (7%), one library assistant/clerk (7%), three rare book librarians (21%), one Library/University Administrator (7%).



How did you hear about this course?


RBS Website

4 (29%)

RBS Printed Schedule

1 (7%)

Work Colleague

5 (36%)


2 (14%)

Music libn listserv, ACRL



Word of mouth

2 (14%)





Where did you stay?

Brown College: 6 (43%)

Courtyard Marriott: 2 (14%)

Econolodge: 1 (7%)

Hampton Inn & Suites: 4 (29%)

Other: 1 (7%) (Dinsmore House)