Rare Book Library Rarely Used!!
The University of Pennsylvania Libraries just got their 5 millionth volume, a rare hagadah. Unfortunately, their rare book collection is underutilized by the student body. What is so special about a rare book collection if nobody uses it. Excite has the story.\"Like the rest of Penn\'s unusual or uncommon 250,000 printed books, over 10,000 linear feet of manuscript collections, and more than 1,500 codex manuscripts -- many one-of-a-kind maps, broadsides, playbills, programs, photographs, prints, drawings and sound recordings -- are housed in the collection. And in about 10 minutes, you or any other Penn student can sit down, request and read from the same copy of Paradise Lost that Milton once held in his own hands or browse through its recently acquired hagadah.\"
\"Every volume is made available to any student. But while the collection is a fantastic University resource, it is unfortunately underutilized.\"
\"Sadly, few students ever venture to the sixth floor of Van Pelt. But those who do will find the Rosenwald Gallery, which displays highlights from the University\'s rare book collection.\"
\"Currently, the department has an exhibit celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Dreiser\'s Sister Carrie. The room is filled with paintings of major contributors to the University libraries, among them Edgar Fahs Smith, whose collection forms the backbone of the library\'s extensive chemistry collection.\"
\"On one side of the room, one can find the Henry Charles Lea Memorial Library, which holds Lea\'s extensive collection of works on medieval history, religion and literature. The Lea Library is unique in that the entire room in which his collection was housed was moved into the Van Pelt Library, complete with floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, sculptures and furniture.\"
\"Lea\'s collection is also this country\'s largest resource of medieval material.\"
\"Opposite the Lea Library is the Rare Book and Manuscript reading room, where students can access any other book housed in the University collections.\"
\"In fact, all that is asked is one register and keep all books within the room. Aside from that, the staff will show you any part of the collection -- be it Shakespeare\'s First Folio or a Venetian manuscript on the dangers of Jacobin societies.\"
\"Penn\'s collection is particularly strong in history of science, Italian history, colonial American history, Shakespeare and English literature and American anthropology. It also holds many of Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Swift\'s letters and the largest collection of primary documents -- letters, diaries and newspapers -- on early Philadelphia history.\"