News & Notes

Rare books in action

Posted in Services, Special Collections Tagged with: ,

It has been another busy semester for rare books at LSU. In fact, students are using our collections in all kinds of interesting ways! Here are some photos from three recent class visits to Special Collections.


Thirty students in Richard Doubleday’s survey on graphic design history visited on February 24 to look at beautiful books from across the ages. Special Collections holds original copies of many of the items they are reading about in Philip Meggs’ A History of Graphic Design. Getting to see and touch the real thing, everyone agreed, was way cooler than seeing a black-and-white picture of it in their textbook!

English Professor Chris Barrett has made Special Collections a big part of her undergraduate course on Shakespeare this semester. Her 150 students are visiting the library in several waves to learn about “Books Beyond Texts.” Curator of Books Michael Taylor and Professional in Residence John Miles have been presenting to each class on how to study books as physical objects. Can a book’s “packaging” help us better understand the author’s words? How were books marketed, consumed, and experienced in different time periods? Why is that important?

One of the ways that Professor Barrett’s students are learning how to “read” the non-textual information that books contain is by… blindfolds! The students are given several books and asked to guess what kind of a book each one is based on how it feels. The blindfold, paradoxically, helps us see the importance of the visual clues that books contain. As Harvard professor Leah Price, from whom this exercise was adapted, observes: “Words are only one of the channels through which a book conveys information. Some of that information instructs us, perhaps even subconsciously, in how or even where and when to use a book.”


We are also engaging with students from outside LSU. On March 4, about fifty very excited students from Broadmoor High School visited the library as part of a day-long trip to LSU to learn about the study of history. Professor Maribel Dietz of the LSU History Department and Curator of Books Michael Taylor showed a sampling of materials from Special Collections, including medieval manuscripts, World War I posters, and documents related to the history of Louisiana. The students also enjoyed visiting our current exhibition on Japanese illustrated books.

To learn more about the instructional services we offer, or to talk with us about how you can support the LSU Libraries’ teaching mission, please feel free to contact us!

Michael Taylor is Curator of Books, LSU Libraries’ Special Collections

Posted in Services, Special Collections Tagged with: ,

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Recent Faculty Publications


Hebert, Andrea. “Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Library and Information Science Graduate Students: An Exploratory Study,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2018).

Miller, Marty. “Sacred vs. Profane in The Great War: A Neutral’s Indictment: Louis Raemaekers’s Use of Religious Imagery in Adoration of the Magi and Our Lady of Antwerp.” Catholic Library World, vol. 89, no. 1, Sept. 2018, pp. 20–32.

Wilder, Stanley. “Delayed Retirements and the Youth Movement among ARL Library Professionals,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Ziegler, Scott. “PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts,” Information Technology and Libraries, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018).


Caminita, C., Cook, M., & Paster, A. (2017). Thirty years of preserving, discovering, and accessing U.S. agricultural information: Past progress and current challenges. Library Trends, 65(3), 293-315.

Dauterive, Sarah, John Bourgeois, & Sarah Simms. “How little is too little? An examination of information literacy instruction duration for freshmen.” Journal of Information Literacy, 11.1 (2017): 204-219.

Fontenot, Mitch; Emily Frank; and Andrea Hebert. “Going Where the Users Are: Three Variations on a Theme,” Louisiana Libraries, Fall 2017.

Johnson, Hayley. “#NoDAPL: Social Media, Empowerment, and Civic Participation at Standing Rock,” Library Trends, Fall 2017.


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