"The Living Book: New Perspectives on Form and Function" Opens at the Library Company

LivingBook.jpgPhiladelphia, PA--April 24, 2017--The Library Company of Philadelphia is excited to announce the opening of a new exhibition, The Living Book: New Perspectives on Form and Function. The exhibition will open Thursday, May 9, 2017 and run through Friday, January 5, 2018. The Library Company's exhibition gallery is free and open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 9:00am - 4:45pm. Curated by the Library Company's McLean Conservation Department, The Living Book will provide a new perspective on the material culture of the book.

As we spend more and more time reading off of screens and digital devices, the days of the paper book are widely believed to be numbered. However, books have been a constant in our lives for centuries. Books of all shapes and sizes are common objects used for education, reflection, work, and fun. This multi-media exhibition showcases the incredible versatility and variety of forms of books, both as a way of illustrating their importance to human culture, but also the remarkable adaptability that will ensure their permanence.

The exhibition will explore details such as homemade repairs, handwritten notes, and sentimental tokens that bring the book to life. These details, which are often overlooked, convey a sense of each book's unique story. According to Chief of Conservation Jennifer Rosner and Conservators Alice Austin and Andrea Krupp, "...we searched for and enjoyed finding unusual books in our collection, and we're excited to share them... [and], for the first time we'll be able to show books in motion on a video screen. We hope that visitors will leave the exhibit with a new appreciation for the book and its role in everyday life."

Also included are various materials and ephemera, including prints, photographs, broadsides, and advertisements. Books help us remember the past, record the present, and imagine the future. The Living Book will inspire you to think about how we use books in our daily life, and the value of its preservation for discovery and exploration in the future.

On May 9th, the Library Company will host an Exhibition Opening featuring remarks from Edwin Wolf 2nd Director, Dr. Michael J. Barsanti, and the curators of the exhibition. The highlight of the evening will be a collector's discussion held by renowned book collector, Michael Zinman. 

Michael Zinman, Trustee Emeritus of the Library Company, is a collector of American imprints and American trade bindings. Through gifts and purchases, Mr. Zinman has contributed over 14,000 books, pamphlets, and broadsides to the Michael Zinman Collection of Early American Imprints, acquired by the Library Company in 2000. It is the largest such collection assembled in the 20th  century and larger than all but a handful of institutional collections. 

Several spring programs and events will be held in conjunction with the exhibition. All events will be held at the Library Company of Philadelphia, unless otherwise specified. Details and links to registration can be found at  www.librarycompany.org/events.

What: Medical History Collection and The Living Book Tour

Ticket Price: Free for Members/ $10 for Non- Members

When: Tuesday, May 16 at 2:30pm

This two-part tour includes a collections review with the Library Company co-Director of the Visual Culture Program and Associate Curator of Prints & Photographs, Erika Piola and exclusive The Living Book tour with exhibition curators.

What: The Living Book Symposium

Ticket Price: Free for Members/ $15 for Non- Members

When: Thursday, May 18 at 1:00pm - 5:00pm/ Reception to follow

This half-day symposium, will bring together three experts to share their unique perspectives on the book. Speakers include Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress; Alice Austin, Library Company Conservator; and Russell Maret, a type designer and private press printer in New York City. 

What: Book Club: On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks

Ticket Price: Free for Members/ $10 for Non- Members

When: Thursday, June 1 at 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Conservator Alice Austin will lead the discussion on select chapters from On the Map. Join us for an interesting conversation and a pop-up exhibition featuring some of the Library Company's most fascinating maps.

About The Library Company of Philadelphia

Founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin, the Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library and educational institution specializing in American and global history from the 17th through the early 20th centuries. Claiming one of the world's largest holdings of early American imprints, the Library Company also has internationally-renowned collections in early African American history, economic history, women's history, the history of medicine, and visual culture. The Library Company promotes access to these collections through fellowships, exhibitions, programs, and online resources. To find out more, please visit www.librarycompany.org 

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