Rare books; not just for dusty people

by Caitlin Bailey, MLIS

Rare books; not just for dusty people

INALJ_1I started out trying to write a post about why I like rare books. Then I realized it was just as long-winded and wordy as the rare book blogs that I dislike and go out of my way not to imitate on my own blog Curious? Adventure with rare books  So, in that spirit I will cut to the chase. Rare books do not have to be

  • Expensive
  • Old
  • Serious

Instead, they can be

  • Absurd
  • Entertaining
  • Conversation starting

They can provide snapshots of common society, place historical events in new context and provide insights into how we twenty-first century creatures read.

As a cataloguer for a rare book dealer, I find so many things that make me laugh or inspire me to further research that I want to share with others. My goal is not to place these books and paper items on a pedestal, or make them out to be something unreachable for those of us without an institutional endowment or a temperature- controlled room, but rather to inspire a conversation or maybe a good belly laugh.

We can still care for, and care about, these wonderful things without making them inaccessible or scary. In fact, for librarians and rare book dealers alike, the more people are able to engage with our objects the better. After all, they are the ones who will ensure the future of both.


caitlin baileyCaitlin Bailey is a student librarian, cataloguer and consultant based out of Montréal, QC. You can visit her blog at http://www.caitlindotbailey.com  When she is not cataloguing for other people, she likes to hang around the flea market to find things to catalogue for herself.

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