UCSB’s Davidson Library will celebrate the acquisition of its 3 millionth volume throughout next week.
The newest work in the collection, a unique book-length edition of W.S. Merwin’s poem “Trees” designed by Charles Hobson, is one of only 30 copies in the world. The introduction of the library’s milestone acquisition will be commemorated with book art exhibits, a public art project, a raffle and a presentation by Hobson himself.
Art professor Harry Reese said the upcoming week of tribute will not only focus on Hobson’s book, but highlight the tradition of book art in general as well.
“Although we are celebrating the 3 millionth book, it is also a celebration of the study of books as an art form and the work by people who studied and taught here,” Reese said.
Brian Mathews, Assistant University Librarian for Outreach & Academic Services, said the library’s extensive collections encompass the traditional and also explore the boundaries of print media and future of the publishing industry. “Trees”, is one of the nearly one thousand books in the Davidson collection that was created and/or compiled by an artist.
“We arrived at the idea of an artist’s book as a way to honor the printed form, yet, push the edges a bit,” Mathews said in an e-mail. As part of the celebration, the library will host an art project called the “3 Million + 1” book, in which students will cooperate to author the next book the library will install in its archives.
According to Jane Faulkner, librarian for the English and French departments, the initiative — running from Nov. 8 to 10 — will serve as an opportunity for students to contribute to the library’s archive.
“It is an interactive event in which everybody can contribute and write a page and bind it in our formal book,” Faulkner said.
The library will also host a public celebration to raffle off a Kindle on Nov. 9.
According to Mathews, the library acquired its millionth volume almost 20 years ago.
“The 3 millionth book will be the latest addition to our special book art collection,” Mathews said. “After festivities, the 3,000,001 book will be available on display for a time, after which it will be put on the library catalogue and will become part of the library archive, along with the 3 million books.”
Reese said book number 3,000,001 will be a fitting addition to the library’s existing works.
“There are some very unique books in the collection,” Reese said. “For instance, one book that will be on display — called the Moiré book — has pages made of window screen, but it’s painted and there are no words in it but, as you turn the page, it changes.”
Furthermore, Hobson will present a free lecture on Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. in the UCen’s State Street Room.