Campus Life

Rare Book Room Renovated in Time for Earthquake

by Ed Carpenter, Office of Marketing Communications

Take a video tour of the Rare Book Room.

The Gleeson Library/Geschke Center’s Donohue Rare Book Room has reopened after a recent renovation opened walls, expanded reading space, upgraded temperature and humidity controls, and hardened the archive and shelves against earthquakes.

'No books disturbed'

The room’s 17,000-piece collection of books, engravings, manuscripts, and more appeared to be untouched after the 6.0 Napa Valley earthquake on Aug. 24, said John Hawk, head librarian for special collections and archives.

“No books were disturbed Monday morning, but that just illustrates the importance of the renovation and how it protects the collection,” Hawk said.

The Rare Book Room, on the top floor of the library, hosts some of the university’s most valuable and most storied texts. Among them is a portion of the 1455 Gutenberg Bible, which launched the print revolution in Europe as the first book printed on movable type in the West, Hawk said.

U.S. Library of Congress chief at USF

To celebrate the reopening, Mark Dimunation, chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, will give an illustrated talk at 4 p.m. Sept. 8. in Fromm Hall on the Library of Congress' effort to restore Thomas Jefferson's Library. A Rare Book Room open house will follow.

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