KSL News

Thank you to all who attended this event! Click here to view videos of all event presentations.


Organized by: Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University
Presented in collaboration with: River Campus Libraries at University of Rochester,
Vanderbilt University and Washington University in St. Louis Libraries


This event was held October 21-22, 2014 in Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University.

This national colloquium explored some of the factors that governed the growth and use of special collections of the past, as well as current and emerging challenges for special collections in the future. How can libraries and university faculty work together to educate students to become more aware of the hidden treasures that are available on their own campuses, and to gain a lifelong appreciation for them? How can collections from individual institutions work together to create a robust whole from the parts?  How can scholars, libraries, potential donors, and collectors come together to forge new partnerships to employ these valued collections to advance knowledge and scholarship—particularly in a digital age? This colloquium was a seminal event in acknowledging the historic strengths of special collections of the past, and provided an opportunity for speakers and participants to chart a course for the next decade and beyond.

The program began mid-day on Tuesday, October 21, and concluded at the end of the day on Wednesday, October 22. Throughout the colloquium, attendees were encouraged to enrich the dialog through a variety of means, including question-and-answer and talk-back sessions during the moderated discussions, placing post-it notes with comments on a designated board, and electronically expanding the dialog via Twitter feeds and a conference blog.  For details on the speakers and presentations or to view the colloquium videos, please click on the links below. 

Click here to view speaker presentations

Click here to view speaker & panelist bios

Click here to view all event videos


Featured speakers:

  • Opening Keynote: "From Siberia to Shangri-La, Changing Perspectives on Special Collections"  Sarah Thomas (Vice President, Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences) will set the context for the Colloquium by providing a high-level overview of the major issues that faced special collections, rare books and manuscript librarians in the past, significant concerns today, and some possible directions for the future. 

  • "Exploring the Past: Everything Old is New Again."  Alice Schreyer (Interim Library Director and Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections, University of Chicago Library) will discuss the enduring value of special collections and the book and explore how they influence collectors, librarians, and researchers today.

  • "Considering the Present: Special Collections are the Meal, Not the Dessert."  Jay Satterfield (Special Collections Librarian, Dartmouth College) will consider issues such as preserving and revealing the artifact, understanding the role and limitations of digital surrogates, elevating the importance for collecting rare books and manuscripts, revealing physical collections through digital scholarship, and collecting issues in a time of transition, including collection scope and means to determine the optimal collections to meet institutional academic needs.

  • "Objects of Study: Special Collections in an Age of Digital Scholarship."  Stephen Enniss (Director, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin) will explore the future of the book as object: how will it look,  how will it be collected, and what should we begin to collect and preserve today to ensure its longevity? He will also examine the emerging role and value of special collections in a world of digital scholarship, and how digital scholarship techniques can complement and advance the use of manuscripts, rare books, and other archival materials in all formats, including images, art work, and audio and video files.

  • Closing Keynote: "The Once and Future Special Collections."  Mark Dimunation (Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress) will take a look at what have we learned from the past, what we need to change to advance the value of special collections materials (including how we can expand access as the library begins to acquire materials in new formats), the most significant obstacles in our path, and the most promising solutions for the next few years and decades. 

Featured panelists:

  • "Acknowledging the Past" 
    Moderator: Joel Silver (Director and Curator of Books at the Lilly Library, Indiana University)
    Bookseller: Ken Lopez
    Collector: Paul Ruxin
    Librarian: Dan DeSimone (Eric Weinmann Librarian, Folger Shakespeare Library)
    Librarian: Elizabeth Haven Hawley (Chair, Special and Area Studies Collections Department, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida)

  • "Where are We Today?"
    Moderator: Geoffrey Smith (Head of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, The Ohio State University)
    Auction House: Selby Kiffer (Senior Vice President, Sotheby's)
    Collector: Jon Lindseth
    Librarian: Jim Kuhn (Joseph N. Lambert and Harold B. Schleifer Director, Rare Books & Special Collections, University of Rochester)
    Scholar: Christoph Irmscher (Provost Professor, George F. Getz Jr. Professor in the Wells Scholars Program, Wells Scholars Program Director, Indiana University)
  • "Special Collections in an Age of Digital Scholarship"
    Moderator: Dan Cohen (Associate Professor, Department of History and Art, Case Western Reserve University)
    Bookseller: Tom Congalton (Owner, Between the Covers Rare Books Inc.)
    Librarian: Athena Jackson (Associate Director, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan)
    Librarian: Melissa Hubbard (Team Leader, Special Collections and Archives, Case Western Reserve University)
    Scholar: Gerald Early (Merle King Professor of Modern Letters, Washington University, St. Louis)

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Collections FAQ

Why isn't the book on the shelf?
Find out where a book is before you go to the shelf. Search the Case Catalog to see what it says like
- "Check Shelves" (look on the shelves, find it, & check it out);
- "Just Checked In" (ask staff for help, it's nearby, but too soon to be back on the shelves yet);
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Tip: If it is not available, order an OhioLINK copy
Can I return books to a different Library?

Return Case or OhioLINK items to any Case library, yes. Case libraries have different hours, so your book might not get checked in on the day you return it if you use a bookdrop.

Return the CPL@Case-KSL books only to KSL, so the collection is here for you & others. Case libraries are not responsible for returning other local libraries’ books. Returning public library books here will not check them off of your account at those libraries.

What does "Check Shelves" mean?
"Check Shelves" means it is supposed to be on the shelf. If it isn’t there, double-check what the Case Catalog currently says to make sure that nobody else has checked it out or has kept it out too long.
How long does reshelving take?
The times are different, depending on what is being reshelved and what time of semester it is. KSL goal: to reshelve journals within 24 weekday hours, reshelve books within 48 hours. During peak times (end of semester) the time can be longer. Ask staff at the Main Service Desk for help.
How do I reserve a book?
Books are on the shelves for anyone who needs them, and are not reserved for individual use. If our book is checked out, order a copy from the OhioLINK.
Where are the UL Storage Stacks?
KSL has a university center half a mile from KSL, where lesser used or brittle books are kept, and the catalog search screen will display "UL Storage." You can visit the Center during daytime hours, or use an online request form to bring back the item to KSL. The center is now called RRCC (Retrospective Research Collections Center.)
Can I get a book or video on a specific date?
Yes, Case faculty, staff, & students can find out more details and use a convenient online request form for Book a Video or DVD  (KSL’s other collections are available only on a first-come basis for everyone, and cannot be booked ahead of time.)
What does a Book on Order mean? When will it get here?
When the catalog item displays “1 copy ordered for (library name)” the item is already in the library getting the final processing labels, etc., and will soon be on the shelf! Ask staff if there are other copies avaialable in OhioLINK in the meantime, or if you have an urgent need.
What is a PIN?
Your PIN is not assigned, you choose what it is and enter it on the Case Catalog at “View Your Library Record,” following the instructions. A Case Library PIN is a Personal Identification Number that protects your information, just like your bank ATM asks for a similar security PIN.
How do I get a library account & where can I look at it?
Case faculty, staff, and students automatically have online library accounts. You can look at it on the Case Catalog under “View your library record.” Use your library account to renew items on line and keep track of what you have checked out or ordered from OhioLINK or RRCC or Iron Mountain sites. Your Case ID is your library card!

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