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Hello, Folio!

An introduction to large-scale books

Posted 03.03.14 by Allison Fischbach

Illumiated manuscript from the St. John's Bible.

Deep in the recesses of the Decker Library, right between Jane Hammond's Cat Tails etching and the reference librarian's office, is a small enclave with the cryptic title of "FOLIO." This oft-overlooked portion of the library is home to an enigmatic collection of books - the Folios.

Folio books are characterized by their size - any book 15 inches or taller - and are housed in short, flat stacks to keep them from the damage of everyday wear and tear. Within the folios' pages is a wealth of grandeur, from detailed world atlases to vibrant reptile photography to communist construction projects, photomontage landscapes and independent comics.

We've opened the covers of these books for the library's March exhibit, "Hello, Folio!" to introduce books very few patrons stop and see. On the first floor, take the time to read through a page or two of Sammy Harkham's gargantuan comic anthology Kramers Ergot 7 or Anne Bachelier's illustrated version of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, which will reinvent your view of books, with the two books bound "tête-bêche," (upside-down and inverted).

Downstairs, examine the unexpected and colorful effects of time on copper urns in David Maisel's Library of Dust, or explore urban landscapes and futuristic dwellings in CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed by Frédéric Chaubin and Hong Kong: front door/back door by Michael Wolf.

A few famous works will also be opened, including the St. John's Bible, a modern illuminated manuscript, and the National Geographic Atlas of the World, including detailed images of the surface of the moon and Mars.

On your way through the library this month, take a few moments to examine the works on display, or even roam the folio room on your own - you never know what treasures the folios hold.

March 3 - 28, 2014
Curated by Allison Fischbach and Michelle Cepelak

Circulation policy for books on exhibit
Circulating books on display in the museum cases are available for checkout. Please see a staff member at the circulation desk to request a book from the cases. Titles, when available, may be checked out at any time from the MRC.

For books on display from the Special Collections (Cage), please see a reference librarian.

Image information
This page: From The St. John's Bible, Wisdom Books by Donald Jackson, BS 191.5 .A1 2005 .C65 v.3 Folio
Thumbnail: From Sonne statt Regen by Olafur Eliasson, TR 140 .O57 A4 2003 Folio


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