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Instruction Services

This guide describes instruction services offered by SCUA.

Rare Books Instruction Services

We instruct students in proper handling methods and guide them in directly handling and examining rare books.

History and Materiality of the Book

  • Students handle and explore rare books to learn how to interpret evidence within the pages and binding of books to understand how books were printed, bound, collected, and used.
  • Examining collections materials, students learn about the main periods of book production in the West: the transition from manuscript culture to hand-press printing and later mechanized printing.

Subject-specific rare books sessions

  • Students will engage with rare books and collections materials chosen by the archivist and/or course instructor that enhance learning around a particular subject.

Examples of rare books instruction sessions

  • College of Design students learning intaglio printing class take photographs of plates in illustrated books to inspire their own print designs.
  • Astronomy students view key works by Galileo, Kepler, Isaac Newton, and others illuminating the Renaissance history of astronomy.
  • Horticulture students examine early printed herbals.
  • English students examine hand-press era books to understand bibliography.

Collection Strengths

Main collection strengths:

  • Agriculture
  • Science
  • Technology

Secondary collecting areas:

  • Artist’s books
  • Costume dress, and fashion
  • Domestic science, home economics, and household management
  • Incunabula, or books printed before 1501
  • Iowa Cookbook Collection
  • Iowa and local history
  • Literature: includes the Margaret Young Science Fiction Collection, several Charles Dickens novels in original parts and first bound editions, works by Lafcadio Hearn, and G.A. Henty novels.

Instruction Request Form

Contact us

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Special Collections & University Archives
403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University Library
Ames, IA 50011
515 294-6672