Columbia Libraries to Host Symposium in Honor of Jean Ashton, Director of Rare Book & Manuscript Library


NEW YORK, November 30, 2005 - Columbia Libraries will host a symposium in honor of Jean Ashton, who is retiring next month after twelve years as Director of Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The symposium, entitled "Shaping Scholarship in a Changing Landscape," will be held from 1:00 to 6:30 p.m. on December 8, in the Faculty Room of Low Memorial Library at Columbia University. Featured panels and presentations will discuss issues of critical importance for the future of library special collections within the academic enterprise.

The symposium, entitled “Shaping Scholarship in a Changing Landscape,” will be held from 1:00 to 6:30 p.m. on December 8, in the Faculty Room of Low Memorial Library at Columbia University. Featured panels and presentations will discuss issues of critical importance for the future of library special collections within the academic enterprise.

“Jean Ashton is a distinguished colleague and Columbia is honored to celebrate her decades of leadership in the special collections and academic library communities through this symposium,” said James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian.

“We look forward to bringing together many of Jean’s friends and colleagues-collectors, dealers, librarians, scholars and students-to celebrate her many contributions to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library,” said Patricia Renfro, Deputy University Librarian. “The symposium will give us a chance to explore the ways that changes in the market for primary research materials, and the opportunities offered by new technologies, may impact the way we collect.”

The symposium’s keynote address, entitled “'Ocean of the Stream of Stories.' A curator’s challenge in the new millennium,” will be delivered by Alice Prochaska, Yale University Librarian. It will be followed by a panel on “Values and Valuations: Research and the Market,” moderated by Steve Enniss, Director of Special Collections & Archives at Emory University, and featuring Columbia History Professor Elizabeth Blackmar, Sotheby’s Vice Chairman David Redden, and Dan Traister, Curator of Research Services at the University of Pennsylvia’s Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

A second panel, entitled “Advancing Access? Technology and Collections” will be moderated by Michael Ryan, Director or the Annenberg Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Panelists will include Gerald Beasley, Director of Columbia’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library; William Helfand, President of the Library Company of Philadelphia; and Richard Sacks, Adjunct Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia. Concluding remarks will be provided by Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress. A reception in the Low Rotunda will follow the final presentation.

To attend the symposium, please respond to 212-854-4768 or mh932@columbia.edu.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library owns over 500,000 rare books in some 20 book collections and almost 28 million manuscripts in nearly 3,000 separate manuscript collections. It is particularly strong in English and American literature and history, classical authors, children’s literature, education, mathematics and astronomy, economics and banking, photography, the history of printing, New York City politics, librarianship, and the performing arts. Individual collections are as eclectic as they are extensive. For additional information about the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, please call 212-854-5153.

-END-
11/30/05 ICL