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Re: [BKARTS] Open book...

Hi, Roberta,

Thought I'd share with you some display experiences I've had with
"Booker's Dozen," the biennial, juried, traveling book show sponsored by
the Idaho Center for the Book.  "Booker's" travels to twelve venues in
Idaho throughout the calendar year and consists of fourteen artists'
books made by Idahoans.

Sharing your belief that books are meant to be handled,
experienced-in-time, etc., I have in the past, with consent of the book
makers, advised host institutions that they might allow
patrons/viewers/readers to "work" books on display--sometimes gloved,
sometimes with bare, nekkid hands--but always under supervision.  One
year I advised book artists that their books could not be pheasants
under glass; works had to be pawable, manipulatable, toyed with--yea,
even read.

The results of both approachs?  The under supervision approach resulted
in the repair of two books and the replacement of a third.  The
not-under-glass approach resulted in the repair of two books and the
theft of a third ("The Survivalist's Cookbook"...).  Luckily, the latter
had been done in an edition and could be replaced.

For the forthcoming Booker's (2004) I have again sought permission from
book makers to allow the public to handle books under supervision.
However, because many of the venues do not have staff to serve as Biblio
Police (and fiscal constraints make such staffing even more problematic
in these post 9/11 days), I have also scanned and/or photographed every
danged page on every danged book in the forthcoming exhibit and a
"Booker's 2004 CD" will accompany the exhibit, for viewing by them who
want or can.  (As well, I'm giving all bookers in the exhibit a free
copy of the disk.)

Electronic access is in many ways an unsatisfying substitute for Real
Biblio Time, of course, but at least readers will be able to see what
the heck is going on on p. 17--and not just the cover or that spread on
pp. 28-29.

Tom Trusky, Director
Hemingway Western Studies Center and
Professor of English
Boise State University
1910 University Drive
Boise, ID  83725
(208) 426-1999 tel
(208) 426-4373 fax

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