The Caxton Club/Newberry Library 2008 Symposium on the History of the Book examines the role of rare books and special collections libraries in a digital age.
The term "rare" suggests costly and inaccessible, but symposium participants assert that research materials in specialized libraries are important to the preservation and development of our common intellectual heritage, and, as such, are of enduring public value and use. What will collectors and collections look like and where will rare books stand in a hierarchy of public priorities for the still-new twenty-first century?
The first session of the day - "Book collecting in Chicago" offers an interesting paradigm for the place of rare books in American life. A study of the city's collecting history by the associate director of the University of Chicago Library's Special Collections Research Center sets the scene for the more future-oriented talks that follow with an account of Chicago's intertwined civic and institutional ambitions.
Recorded Saturday, April 12, 2008 at The Newberry Library.