Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Conference

Photo Source: Sophia Hussain via CC, http://bit.ly/1F99HNC

The ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) will host its 56th annual conference in Oakland and Berkeley from June 23 to June 26, immediately preceding the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco. Preserve the Humanities! Special Collections as Liberal Arts Laboratory, to be held at the Oakland Marriott City Center and on the UC Berkeley campus, will explore the role of special collections libraries and archives in the humanities through a rich array of programming, including plenary sessions, seminars, workshops, short papers, posters, and participant-driven discussions.

In the four days of the conference, speakers will focus on the collaborative partnerships forged amongst archivists, librarians, researchers, and teaching faculty and position libraries as laboratories for the liberal arts and sciences. If special collections libraries and archives contain the raw material for humanistic inquiry, librarians and archivists can play an active role in research and teaching in these fields.

Naturally, given that this conference is being held in our backyard, numerous University Library and Affiliated Libraries staff members will be playing central roles:

Opening Plenary: The Big Picture
Wednesday, June 24 – 8:30 to 10:00am, Oakland Marriott, Grand Ballroom
Elaine Tennant, James D. Hart Director of The Bancroft Library and Professor of German, will join Janice Radway (Northwestern University) and Neil Safier (Brown University) in presenting the broad issues in the humanities in conjunction with recent trends in higher education.

Participant-Driven Session 3: In Depth at the Bancroft: The Lifecycle of Objects
Thursday, June 25 – 9:15 to 10:45am, Bancroft Library Reading Room
James Eason, Theresa Salazar, and David Faulds from The Bancroft Library will lead participants in a materials-based examination of the wandering lives of cultural heritage materials. This session will be assisted by Bancroft staff members Lee Anne Titangos and Ciara Crowley.

Seminar K: Mess Is Lore: Navigating the Unwieldy World of Social Media
Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 to 3:30pm, Hertz Hall
Shannon K. Supple, Head of Reference and Research Services at The Bancroft Library, will be joined by Leslie Fields (Mt. Holyoke College), John Overholt (Harvard University), Julia Gardner (University of Chicago), and Colleen Theisen (University of Iowa) in examining how social media can transform the way librarians and archivists engage with collections, users, and each other.

Papers Panel 9: Cutting Edge Technologies
Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 to 3:30pm, Morrison Library
Mary W. Elings of the Bancroft Library Digital Collections Unit, along with MIMS student Janine Heiser, will present their paper, “ArchExtract: An Automated Topic Modeling Application for Processing and Accessing Large Text-Based Digital Archives,” based on a project supported by Bancroft’s 2015 Archival Technologies Fellowship and a UC Berkeley School of Information Summer Non-Profit Internship Grant.

Additionally, there were be several tours taking place on campus during the RBMS conference:

UC Berkeley Campus Tour
Tuesday, June 23 – 9:30am to 3:00pm
William Benemann, Berkeley Law Archivist, and Steven Finacom will be leading a walking tour focused on the architecture and history the Berkeley campus, including such landmarks as the Campaniles, the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Doe Library, The Bancroft Library, Wheeler Hall, Sather Gate, Sproul Plaza, and South Hall. The group will be stopping for lunch at the Free Speech Movement Cafe.

Bancroft Library Gallery
Thursday, June 25 – 11:00 to 11:30am & 2:00 to 2:30pm, Bancroft Library
Bancroft Library pictorial collections curatorial assistant Christine Hult-Lewis will offer guided tours of the current exhibit Highlights and Shadows: Books on Photography from the Reva and David Logan Collection.

The Bancroft Library
Thursday, June 25 – 11:00am to 12:30pm & 2:00 to 3:30pm, Bancroft Library
David de Lorenzo, Associate Director and Head of Technical Services, will offer guided tours of The Bancroft Library.

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
Thursday, June 25 – 11:00am to 12:30pm, Valley Life Sciences Building
Christine Fidler, archivist at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ), is coordinating a guided tour of the Museum’s extensive archive of field notebooks, photographs, annotated maps, and personal papers, along with its stellar mammalogy, ornithology, and herpetology specimen collections.

Self-Guided Campus Exhibits
Thursday, June 25 – 11:00am to 3:30pm, Various locations
Jennifer Nelson of the Robbins Collection is coordinating a self-guided tour of UC Berkeley’s treasures and curiosities. Library sites included on the tour include The Bancroft Library Gallery, Brown Gallery (Doe Library), Moffitt Cases (Moffitt Library), The Robbins Collection, Berkeley Law Archives, Environmental Design Library, Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library, Earth Studies Library, Rowell Cases (University Archives), Ethnic Studies Library, and more…

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life
Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 to 3:15pm, 2121 Allston Way
Gary Handman and Francesco Spagnolo of the Magnes Collection will introduce visitors to the remarkably diverse array of archive, library, and museum holdings, including art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents, about the Jews in the Global Diaspora and the American West.

Please consult the conference program for a complete listing of programs and events.

The Local Arrangements Committee is chaired by Randal Brandt of The Bancroft Library and includes members David Faulds, Mary Elings, Teresa Mora, and Shannon K. Supple. This committee coordinates many aspects of hosting a national conference, from developing the conference website, program brochure, and restaurant guide to identifying and organizing area tours and welcoming and orienting attendees. The Program Planning Committee, charged with developing the conference sessions, from plenaries to papers, also includes Shannon K. Supple.

Generous financial and logistical support for the 2015 RBMS Conference has been provided by the UC Berkeley Library and The Bancroft Library. The entire day’s programming on Thursday, June 25, will be held on campus. Sessions will be running throughout the day in the Morrison Library, 180 Doe, The Bancroft Library, Banatao Auditorium (Sutardja Dai Hall), and Hertz Hall. Attendees will be treated to a Welcome Coffee and a Picnic Lunch on Doe Upper Terrace. RBMS extends a huge Thank You to University Librarian Tom Leonard, Bancroft Library Director Elaine Tennant, Elise Woods, Zsuzsu Listro, Kris Leonardo, and a host of others for their support and assistance in showing colleagues from around the country that Berkeley is a fabulous and special place.