Internship – Week 14

Thanksgiving Week!

The Lilly Library is still open, but in order to stretch my hours through the entire semester I won’t be interning this week. Have a lovely holiday!

Lilly Library Hours
Monday, November 23: 9:00am-5:00pm

Tuesday, November 24: 9:00am-5:00pm
Wednesday, November 25: 9:00am-5:00pm
Thursday, November 26: Closed
Friday, November 27: Closed
Saturday, November 28: Closed
…reopens on Monday, November 30


Internship – Week 13

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities at the Lilly Library!

November 16 – 20

Monday, November 16th (4.5 hours):
Today is the first day without Dave. I definitely feel his absence… the librarians left have to take a bigger workload in order to maintain. I’m just trying to help with anything they need.

So, I spent the beginning hour answering a few emailed reference questions. The rest of my time was spent finding and choosing interesting Lilly books on fairy tales. Rebecca has a class coming up this week on fairy tales, but doesn’t have notes on most of them. She has a large list of great books to show on Cinderella and Bluebeard. I was to look up the origins of Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and The Snow Queen. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Most modern fairy tales had been passed down orally for centuries before being written down. What would you consider original, then? The oral stories or the first written down version? What if multiple cultures had similar stories? What if Perrault and the Grimm brothers both took inspiration from the same story? I love this kind of research! If I hadn’t have gone into Library Sciences I probably would have studied folklore and fairy tales.

Most of us, if you’ve looked up the origins of fairy tales, know the big ones: Charles Perrault, a Frenchman famous for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty; Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish gentleman famous for The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, and The Snow Queen; and the brothers Grimm, German brothers famous for tellings of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White.

Beauty and the Beast was interesting because it WASN’T one of the big three. The modern, popular representation of Beauty and the Beast is attributed to Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont from France.

Now, let’s take a moment to recognize the original titles of these tales:
Beauty and the Beast = La Belle et la Bête (French)
Bluebeard = La Barbe bleue (French)
Cinderella = Cenerentola (Italian); Cendrillon, or, La Petite Pantoufle de verre (French); Aschenputtel (German)
The Little Mermaid = Den lille havfrue (Danish)
Rapunzel = Rapunzel (German)
Sleeping Beauty = La Belle au bois dormant (French); Dornröschen (German)
The Snow Queen = Snedronningen (Danish)

Illustration of Cinderella bent down in the kitchen with pots around her
Charles Robinson illustrated Cinderella in the kitchen (1900), from “Tales of Passed Times” with stories by Charles Perrault. (via Wikipedia)

Wednesday, November 18th (4.5 hours):
I walked in and they were completely caught up on reference questions! It was amazing! So, I spent some time preparing for my class on Friday. It’s a home schooled group ranging in age from elementary to junior high studying ancient Rome to  early printing. To keep everyone’s attention we’re making this relatively hands-on and fairly short, only 30 minutes per small group. I’ve gathered some visually stimulating objects that won’t damage easily:

  • Roman tombstone
  • Large Antiphonal, with illumination
  • Gutenberg Bible fragment
  • Paper molds with deckle
  • Composition stick
  • Paper-making machine figurine
  • Vellum roll

I’m excited for it! I want it to be educational and interesting, but obviously straightforward and not above their heads.

Friday, November 20th (4 hours):
The home-school group of elementary kids was amazing! They were fewer than anticipated, so we talked as a single group. We talked in the main gallery for a little while and looked at the Adubon, checked out the Lincoln Room with the Gutenberg Bible, went into the Ellison Room to look at the objects I pulled, and then back to the Main Gallery to see how the printing press might work. It was a lot of information and a long hour for the kids, but they were great! Several of them had strong questions and were able to answer mine easily. They were super inquisitive and I was glad to have helped show them what the Lilly collected!

Group of children around a table with a woodblock
Homeschooled class visiting the Lilly to see early printing materials (via @IULillyLibrary on Twitter)

The rest of my time was spent on reference questions. Wouldn’t you know we were relatively quiet all day Wednesday and Thursday, and even Friday morning… but when I arrived at 1pm we had 7 simultaneous emails! Isabelle, Rebecca, and I got to most of them. I had another copyright question, where someone wanted an entire book digitized. The book, a miniature, was published in 1987, but the text was originally written in the 1700s. Interesting little problem, heh?

Internship – Week 12

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities at the Lilly Library!

November 9 – 13

Monday, November 9th (4.5 hours):
My classes today went fantastic! It is such a wonderful feeling when you, as a librarian, are able to affect a few patrons. Today’s classes were made up of freshmen. They were taking this class as an introduction to the University’s resources, which obviously included the Lilly Library. I pulled a few treasures to represent our varying collections and showed them how they could conduct primary research. We started with a “tour,” and introduction to the Lilly’s collections and how to use the materials. I went over the history and described the size and scope, but then I took them into the Ellison Room where the materials were laid. That’s where the treasures were. I described the materials in a previous post, I believe, but the students interacted with me! Some of them were excited, visually, by what I was showing them! It’s nice having that connection with people; a mutual delight over old books.

This is why I want to be a reference/instruction librarian. I delight in showcasing the libraries materials and seeing others share in that joy. Books as objects are important. Seeing a digital representation of a page is a profoundly different experience than being able to touch it, turn the pages, notice the quirks of an individual item. I don’t discredit digital images or digitization… they just have a separate function. With these rare materials we are able to get closer to the source or original version of the text; we can see how materials were originally published; decipher marginal notes written by previous owners; understand size and color of an object; see the writing process of authors; and experience these materials as objects. The information about the object often speaks to and enhances the textual information found within the pages.

Gersdorff, Hans Van. Feldtbüch der wundtartzney. [Strassburg]: Schott, [1517?] (via Lilly Library online)
Gersdorff, Hans Van. Feldtbüch der wundtartzney. [Strassburg]: Schott, [1517?] (via Lilly Library online)
Wednesday, November 11th (6 hours):
Happy Veterans’ Day! A quick thank you to all who have or are serving in our armed forces!

Another side note… today is Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday… check out the Lilly’s Vonnegut collection here: .

Alright, now down to the nitty-gritty.

I arrived at the Lilly early today in order to booksit for a class taking place at 11:15. The materials pulled were really interesting: a Mercator map, Gesner’s Historia animalium with a rendition of Albrecht Dürer’s Rhinoceros, French encyclopedias, books on plants.

(Albrecht Dürer - National Gallery of Art: online database: entry 1964.8.697; via Wikipedia)
(Albrecht DürerNational Gallery of Art: online database: entry 1964.8.697; via Wikipedia)

It really was an interesting amalgamation of items. The course was taught in French, but she slipped into English several times. I feel like I want to be open and welcoming during these sessions because I want students to be excited by these materials, but if I haven’t instructed them on how to handle the books I get a little anxious and feel as if I’m the overprotective-helicopter Mom. I don’t want to be a helicopter Mom… but I don’t want the materials to be ripped or mistreated either.

It’s a balancing act.

I continued working on more reference questions. They included more copyright/publication questions as well as regular counting/reproduction questions.

Friday, November 13th (4 hours):
Busy day today! I got in around 1pm and worked some on emailed reference questions; one issue that came up was photocopies of correspondence held at another institution. We have photocopies of the letters for continuity purposes intended for researchers physically at the Lilly; if a researcher emailing the Lilly wanted photocopies of these letters (as was the case here) we had to direct them to the institution holding the original copies.

That’s a lot of words to vaguely explain the situation, isn’t it?

Anywho… about twenty minutes before the tour was to take place two gentlemen arrived. They were wanting to listen to the tour, but wanted to get registered in the Reading Room first so their books could be pulled while on the tour. I helped the two and then walked them to the Main Exhibit Gallery to begin the tour. Well, wouldn’t you know there were three more women waiting for the tour?! That doesn’t usually happen. I was a bit flustered and just began. At the first pause, the women went to take their jackets off since they hadn’t yet… and another student walked in for the tour! There were six people on this tour! That sounds like a small number, but the Lilly (and I’d wager other rare book collections) never usually get that many people interested in the history of their collections all at the same time. I talked and answered questions for half an hour and then 5 of the 6 decided to come into the Reading Room.

The two gentlemen were covered, but I had a few treasures pulled for the women. I gave them a personal, short presentation on a 15th Century Book of Hours, J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan manuscript, Shakespeare’s First Folio, Fruits of Philosophyand the Oscar. One of the women began crying when she saw the First Folio! It makes me incredibly happy that other people are so affected by these books. A digital image of the First Folio is a very different experience than getting touch it and turn it’s pages.

Before I was finished showing the women these materials, another foursome became interested in them. When the women were finished I pushed my little truck over this group of two boys and two men. I went through my little spiel and they were super excited by the Peter Pan. It’s not a very visual piece, but it’s handwritten by Barrie… it’s physically touching history. (Check out my post on seeing Peter Pan as an opera in London!)

AND… today is the last day of one of my mentors! Dave Frasier is retiring from the Lilly Library today. I appreciate everything that he’s shown and taught me over the past year. Thank you, Dave!!

Internship – Week 11

As part of the coursework, interns have to keep a weekly journal of our experiences. Blog entries are acceptable and I thought this would be a great way to keep everyone updated on my library activities at the Lilly Library!

November 2 – 7

Monday, November 2nd (4.5 hours):
I answered a couple of questions via email, and funnily enough, they all had to do with copyright in some way. We had a couple questions had to do with  the Sylvia Plath collection. This collection had a few stipulations attached to it when we acquired the materials. Any poem or work of fiction intended to published and/or successfully published by Sylvia Plath can be reproduced and sent to a patron for personal research. If a patron wants any of the works not intended for publication (correspondence, diaries, personal poetry), he or she must obtain permission from the publishing house that holds the rights. And let me tell you, I don’t think that mission is very easy to accomplish. But… I am just the middle-man.

The rest of my time was spent being a booksitter for a French poetry class. I laid out the materials for the class, quickly went over the rules of handling, and then sat back to observe. The French professor spoke in, well, French. Obviously. I unfortunately know very little French and was unable to keep up with the discussion. It was very interesting, though! Regardless of not know the spoken language, I am able to read body language and facial expressions. When a student bends over a work, intently looking at a page, and a smile creeps across her face… I know that this book just spoke to her on a deeper level. She may have already read the passage in a modern edition, but to read the same words in the author’s hand… it’s touching history. Literally. The author’s hand moved across the very same page you are touching. I don’t need to know French to hear an excited tone to a student’s voice. Those are feelings that rare books and special collections bring out in patrons.

Wednesday, November 4th (4.5 hours):
I pulled the items for my Lutheran-centered bible class on Saturday. I had to write all of the call slips and retrieve them (mainly from the vault). I wanted to spend time looking at the items… getting to know them. I wanted to see if I had questions about the materials (and get them answered now instead of later) or see if anything can be marked. I want Saturday’s class to be relaxed and interactive – the study group knows more about the Bible and Lutheranism than I do. I can present the books and the information that I know, but I want them to share what they’ve learned and what they know.

At one point while I was looking over and organizing the books Joel Silver came into the room. He’s the director of the Lilly Library and curator of the Books; he is the fount of knowledge in the Lilly and a wonderful, wonderful instructor. He’s very sweet and willing to answer any question you have, but his expansive knowledge can be intimidating… a little. He asked what items were on my cart (because he knows the vault items quite well) and I froze up a little. Not really a good sign since I’m to be teaching these materials, but I answered things pretty well I think. I just don’t want to disappoint him! I know he knows that I’m just starting out, that I don’t know the materials as well as he does, and he’s just asking questions to be polite. Honestly I wish I could take more classes from the man – he’s that good.

Friday, November 6th (4 hours):
I arrived at the Lilly and went to work on a few email reference questions. Nothing too extravagant… mainly counting pages for a few people. I was able to register a couple of patrons in the reading room today – a simple process that just takes a little bit of time. I conducted the 2:00 Friday tour of the public spaces. It was lovely talking to one woman about the Lilly; we had more of a conversation that the normal tour relationship.

I also pulled some materials for the Monday class. I will be showing freshmen undergraduates how the Lilly can be used for primary research purposes. Boy, did I pull a few great things! I had to edit some of my originally intended items since other librarians were using them, but that’s the nice thing about the Lilly. There’s always something just as interesting to pull! I can be flexible. This also gives me a chance to look at items I haven’t before. Alright, now to the list of items…

  • The Canterbury Tales, written by Chaucer, printed by William Caxton
  • The Pickwick Papers, written by Charles Dickens
  • Six Pickwick Papers toddy ladles, issued by publisher
  • Laws of the United States, owned by Thomas Jefferson
  • A fifteenth century Bible owned by a former Duke of Sussex
  • A miniature album of recreated illuminations
  • Sylvia Plath’s drafts of The Babysitters
  • Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger drafted novel
  • A sixteenth century German surgery book
  • 1st English translation of Euclid’s Elements of Geometrie…
  • 1st issue of The Fantastic Four comic book
  • John Ford’s Oscar
German field book, Jefferson's copy, Pickwick Papers, Caxton's Chaucer (via K. Emmons)
German surgery book, Jefferson’s Laws copy, Pickwick Papers, Caxton’s Chaucer (via K. Emmons)

I think it’ll be a nice little class.

Speaking of classes, tomorrow is the class on Lutheran materials! I’m super excited for it!

Saturday, November 7th (4 hours):
The class went great! The Trinity Lutheran group from Ellettsville came in about 10am to the Slocum room where I had everything set up. One of the gentlemen was a pastor, meaning he went to seminary school, meaning he knew a lot more about Lutheran history than I did. I started out by showing examples of 15th Century French Books of Hours; these manuscript books were very decadent, filled with beautiful illustrations and illumination, showing a lot of wealth. There was as English primer called the Wycliffe Bible that seemed to have Reformation sentiments before the Reformation. Next were a few interesting types of Bibles from the 16th Century, contemporary with Martin Luther: a comic-esque, picture bible called the Pauper’s Bible, and polyglot filled with multiple languages. Then were the Martin Luther things: one of his tracts from 1520 in German, the first Lutheran hymnal, a miniature hymnal, the first German Bible published in America, and a book claiming to having Martin Luther’s signature. I showed Henry VIII’s tract against the Reformation that earned him the title “Defender of the Faith” as well as Luther’s response. The final few Bibles were interesting Bibles that I thought they needed to see: the Great Bible printed on yellow pages showcasing King Henry VIII more prominently than Jesus, the original King James Bible from 1611, and the Wicked Bible. I kept my talk to just over half an hour, which seemed to be just enough for this class; enough information without going overboard.

Showcasing the Lutheran materials in the Slocum Room of the Lilly Library (photo courtesy Dave Grimm)
Showcasing the Lutheran materials in the Slocum Room of the Lilly Library (photo courtesy Dave Grimm)

I thank them for coming in on a Saturday morning to help with my internship!