World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books, and sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift specially chosen and printed books to their communities to share their love of reading. World Book Night is celebrated on April 23.
When two members of the GSA Library were lucky enough to be chosen as book-givers for World Book Night 2013, it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up! Having 20 copies of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road to give away for free, we took full advantage to open up the Mackintosh Library for the day. The Library’s Jennifer Higgins writes:
Our famous Mackintosh Library normally holds our reference collections, with limited access for visitors. World Book Night presented a unique chance for our visitors to browse a selection of our rare books in these unique surroundings whilst picking up a free novel! The event sought to promote the Library’s research potential and to inspire our visitors to think creatively about the materiality of the book and its function as a design object. Both Treasure Island and Red Dust Road are by Scottish authors and share the theme of travel and discovery, so we presented a selection of travel books and atlases from our special collections.
Our visitors comprised mainly of undergraduate students and members of staff. Some students were in the process of creating their own artist’s book; others had brought cameras as a means of collecting images from the collections; others still were simply there to browse and admire! Students were particularly interested in the printing techniques used to create, for example, our 1831 edition of John Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland. Staff members were taken by the volumes of Old Spain, illustrated by distinguished GSA alumni Muirhead Bone, proving the continuous link between the Library and the School’s artistic heritage. Many also commented on Edouard Edy-Legrand’s brightly-illustrated children’s book Macao et Cosmage. A selection of artists’ books were available to view, with one student commenting that being privy to this collection provided her with a new perspective on her own work.
A real talking-point of the day came from an album of 19th century architectural postcards. This scrapbook of miscellaneous photographic postcards, meticulously curated by an unknown collector, emerged as one of the most popular items of the day, with its delicate handwritten inscriptions.