We’ve written before about book publishers’ novel and sometimes misguided attempts at including additional media in bindings (see Robots 1:1). Many new acquisitions to the circulating collection include supplementary images, audio, or video on CD, and they often come to Conservation Services for a pocket that can be physically attached to the book to keep all the parts together.
Night Falls on the Berlin of the Roaring Twenties (2018) is a wonderful graphic exploration of the cultural and technological “golden age” of the Weimar-era, immediately proceeding the rise of National Socialism. Illustrations by Robert Nippoldt, accompanied by texts from Boris Pofalla (translated by Ida Hattemer-Higgins), profile prominent individuals and places in the city.
To complete the experience, an audio CD of music from that period is included inside the rear board – and here is where the book design really shines.
The rear paste-down features a print of a “cathedral style” table-top radio. The CD is printed to match the design of the radio and mounts to round plastic knob, rather than being stored in a plastic case or paper pocket. The audio track list is printed on the adjoining flyleaf as if it were coming from the radio.
But the best part is when you remove the CD to reveal the vacuum tubes and other internal components of the radio! We like to complain about modern structures and design in book publishing, but in this case they really got it right.
Despite the library (and campus in general) feeling very quiet and empty this past year, there has actually been a lot going on. Library exhibits are no exception and there are currently two really wonderful shows up and available by appointment in the building. Plans are already underway for bigger and more exciting events in the fall. This very large and sturdy crate containing a loan for an upcoming show just arrived this week. Stay tuned for more details!
One of the perks of working in a university library is that you will regularly encounter some very strange and delightful things. The item that checked that box for me this week was the Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini.
It was pretty obvious why it came in to the lab for repairs. The cover to textblock attachment was way too weak for the size of the book.
The text held a number of surprises, though. This illustrated encyclopedia, written in some imaginary language, contains images of all kinds of crazy stuff. The illustrations cover everything from animals, …
… to fashion, …
… , to elaborate machines and architecture.
It even has some suggestions for activities to occupying your free time.
If you are a fan of mysterious illustrated books, like the Voynich Manuscript or the Rohonc Codex, then Codex Seraphinianus is probably worth a look. Once we’ve had a chance to reattach the case, of course.
This one came to us from Circulation this week. Fido is either anxious because her person went back to work, or is upset because her person is spending too much time on Zoom and not enough time on belly rubs.
Both are half leather volumes. Maybe the leather just tasted good? We may never know.
Finding funny notes or inscriptions in books from the collection is such a delight. Rachel came across one this week in this book of poems that we just had to share.
Readers who are Brontë fans may recognize this as the first work by the sisters to ever go to print. They adopted masculine-sounding pseudonyms to avoid, as Charlotte later wrote, being “looked on with prejudice.” The starting letters of the first names correspond, with Charlotte writing as Currer Bell, Emily as Ellis, and Anne as Acton.
Yesterday was my first day back in the lab since mid-March and it was a bit surreal. The university was still in full operation the last time that I visited the library, so I wasn’t quite sure how it would look these days. Here are a few scenes from my day:
The library building is still closed, it’s clear that a lot of people have been working hard to prepare for a phased reopening. I’m looking forward to working with collection material again – even if it’s just a few days a week.
Just before quarantine we got our new wall-mounted roll storage unit from the carpentry shop.
We have a larger stand-alone roll storage rack where we keep rolls of book cloth and Melinex. But we recently moved the encapsulator and it became clear we needed to move the Melinex storage closer to the new location. The stand-alone rack was too large for that space so Rachel researched wall mounted racks. Nothing “off the shelf” fit the space, so she worked with the carpentry shop on the specifications. The new rack stores two rolls and hangs high enough that one of our height-adjustable tables can be positioned underneath for ease of use.
Here Rachel is showing a chart of the Triboelectric series (right before we all remembered we could just share screeens 🙂 ). It’s nice to be able to connect with colleagues so easily, despite everything that is going on.