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Job Description

Conditions for handling a rare book, even
a medieval manuscript, aren't that strict. If one

is taking notes a pencil should be used, definitely
not a pen, and gloves must be worn while handling

the item. Sometimes the Rare Books staff have to help
explain what's going on in a particular book,

which can be harrowing, but normally we're called on
to prop a book up, or talk about the collection.

The most popular items are the Catholic Missal
and Rossdhu Book of Hours, St Augustine's De Civitate

Dei printed 1468, the Josephus Wars of the Jews.
I think the most amazing are our Ethiopic manuscripts

with their rare Coptic bindings. When I give a talk
I always show John Audubon's two-metre tall Birds of America

and the two-centimetre Schloss's English Bijou Almanac.
The tallest and the shortest somehow sums it up for them.


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