Reading Room renovation week 1

Temporary reading room in the Ball Room

The Library’s temporary reading room, set up in the Elisabeth Ball Room, is running smoothly this week. This room is arranged to accommodate up to four readers, and we have had a full house at times. In the top photo you can see graduate student employee Trevor Winn silhouetted against the window and one researcher at a table. Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of the Irish poet Thomas Moore surveys the scene from above the fireplace.

Library staff have also been displaced during the renovation. Head of Reference and Public Services Rebecca Cape is camped out in the Byrd Room (the Public Services staff room) since her office is accessed through the Reading Room, and all employees are using a different entrance to staff areas of the Lilly Library, passing through the Lilly Room (home to me and Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts) instead of the usual path through the Reading Room.

Reading Room renovation week 1

Renovation work kicked into high gear right away this first week of the project. Crews scrubbed the limestone window frames, removed carpet and padding, set up scaffolding, and started work on replacing light fixtures. In the bottom photo you can see holes in the ceiling where light fixtures have been removed. It is exciting to see things get moving so quickly!

— Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

Preparing for renovation of the Reading Room

Lilly Library Reading Room, May 12, 2009

The Lilly Library Reading Room looks pretty forlorn this week, but it is just the first step in a remodeling project that will take all summer to complete. The project includes new paint, carpeting, window coverings, and furniture, as well as new built-in shelving and workspace beneath the windows. New lighting will brighten the space, and new electrical outlets will make plugging in your laptop easier, with no nasty surge protectors sprouting from the room’s perimeter.

This week there are no reader services at the Lilly Library, but next week we will open up a temporary Reading Room in the Elisabeth Ball Room. (Check back for pictures next week.) Library staff have moved a lot of furniture this week. The Ball Room furniture had to be relocated to make room for the temporary Reading Room furniture, consisting of chairs and smaller tables from the original Reading Room. Most of the furniture in the picture is destined to leave the Lilly Library completely. Staff have also moved many, many books and card catalog cabinets and drawers. All are safe in their new temporary homes in several locations in the Lilly Library.

If you want to use the temporary Reading Room this summer, remember to make an appointment by emailing liblilly@indiana.edu or calling 812-855-2452. We will try to accommodate drop-in visitors, but those with appointments have first priority.

Keep an eye on this blog and the Lilly Library Facebook page for more pictures and information about the progress of the Reading Room renovation.

— Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

Student scholar from Harvard reflects on Lilly Library visit

In the March/April 2009 issue of Harvard Magazine, Harvard senior Brittney Moraski writes about her visit to the Lilly Library to use the papers of poet Sylvia Plath. Moraski reflects on her experiences working in libraries and archives and concludes that “we have to be curators of our own lives”. Read the full article: http://harvardmagazine.com/2009/03/life-in-detail

The Lilly Library first acquired a small collection of Sylvia Plath’s poetry manuscripts in 1961. The extensive collection of Sylvia Plath letters, papers, and memorabilia that the Lilly Library acquired in 1977 came from her mother, Aurelia. Included in that collection are diaries, letters, poetry manuscripts, school papers, articles and prose pieces submitted for publication, scrapbooks, memorabilia, drawings and paintings, and more than 200 books from her library. To learn more about these materials, see the Guide to the Sylvia Plath Materials in the Lilly Library.

Islamic manuscripts on exhibition at the IU Art Museum

Allen mss 10

Highlights from the Lilly Library’s collection of illuminated Islamic manuscripts and books were the focus of a Saturday morning symposium held on March 7, 2009, at the Hope School of Fine Arts. Papers presented by Prof. Christiane Gruber and her students, who have been studying the collection in detail, elaborated on previously unexamined aspects of the collection. The papers will be published by the Indiana University Press in December, 2009, with accompanying illustrations. The symposium complemented the on-going exhibit at the IU Art Museum:

From Pen to Printing Press: Ten Centuries of Islamic Book Arts
March 6–May 10, 2009
Special Exhibitions Gallery, first floor

The exhibition and related programs are made possible with support from Indiana University’s New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program, funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., and administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research; the Thomas T. Solley Endowment for the Curator for Asian Art; and IU Art Museum’s Arc Fund. The exhibition was curated by: Judy Stubbs, The Pamela Buell Curator for Asian Art, organizing curator, and Professor Christiane Gruber, guest curator.

— Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts

View a larger image of Allen mss 10.

New Curator of Manuscripts arrives at the Lilly Library

We’re pleased to announce that on January 26th, 2009, Cherry Williams joined us as our new Curator of Manuscripts. Ms. Williams received an M.L.I.S. degree from UCLA, and an M.A. in Humanities, with a concentration in Art History, from the University of Chicago. She comes to us from UCLA, where she was Special Collections Librarian for the Sciences at the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, and served as Special Projects Librarian and Archivist of the William H. Sweet, M.D., D.Sc. Collection. Cherry also worked at the Getty Research Institute and the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center. She is particularly interested in Medieval manuscripts, and wrote her Master’s thesis at the University of Chicago on “Consuming Images in the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves.” We welcome her warmly, and express our gratitude once more to Saundra Taylor, who retired last May, for her 34 years of service in this important position.

–Breon Mitchell, Director

Rare books in action: Lilly Library video

Hillary Demmon from University Communications recently put together a short web video about the Lilly Library. Director Breon Mitchell narrates over footage of students using books and manuscripts. Most of the pictures on our web site show the Library rooms without any people, so it is wonderful to see some of the life of the Lilly Library captured in this way. Lilly staff lead many tours and classes each year. Some of the students shown in the video are part of an Intensive Freshmen Seminar on the information age.

A link to the video: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/5483.html

Welcome!

Lilly Library entrance

Scarcely a day passes at the Lilly Library without something of unusual interest coming our way. Our newly-inaugurated blog is intended to share our discoveries and excitement about rare books, manuscripts, exhibitions, speakers, and special events on a regular basis. We hope that this forum will allow us to inform you more quickly about fascinating new acquisitions for example, yet give us an opportunity to describe hidden treasures as well—the sort of thing often said to be “slumbering” undiscovered in the vaults of rare book libraries. We will also offer advance notice about lectures, public receptions and special displays. Our goal is to make the blog fun to read, intellectually stimulating, and informative—and to bring you into the Lilly as often as possible.

–Breon Mitchell, Director