Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Elm Tree - Elms College Rare Book Collection

I attended Elms College for four years and worked there for another six and yet I never set foot in the Archives Room. It was this locked room in the library that was most definitely off limits. There was a very intimidating sign that said "By Appointment Only" and I never had the nerve to ask for an appointment. After all, what reason could I give? I'd really like to touch (and smell) the old books? Somehow, I think that might have been frowned upon.

Seriously though - I had no idea what treasures might be there. I thought it contained old yearbooks and college memorabilia but beyond that, my imagination failed me. Turns out, there are many interesting books and documents to be found there. The most recent issue of the alumni magazine features an article about efforts to digitize the collection. Even the librarians who are in charge of this effort are being surprised daily by what is being found. There are materials dating back to the 1400s and 1500s. As a history major and book lover, I am so excited by this!

Library Director Anthony Fonseca shares, some of the library's collections are extremely rare, "one of a kinf, or one of only five copies in the world, or the only copy of this side of the Atlantic."

The goal is to finish digitizing the collection in the next five years. To see what is available so far, please visit  The Elm Tree.

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