UC Riverside Celebrates Three Millionth Library Volume

By Staci Wilson, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
April 27, 2012 

This past Wednesday, April 18th, a reception was held in the Tomas Rivera Library to celebrate the campus’s acquisition of its three millionth volume, a complete facsimile of the Guttenberg Bible. The book was donated by Dr. Edward Petko, also responsible for the university’s ownership of the Petko collection, which consists of fifteen antique printing presses and type ( one of the largest  collections held by any  American university). The three-millionth volume is an exact replica of the original ornate, hand crafted Guttenberg Bible  printed in 1450, the first major book printed using movable type.

University librarian, Dr. Ruth M. Jackson, presided over the  celebration as the master of ceremonies, introducing both speakers and prestigious guests. Pipe major, Mike Terry, began the event by performing his original composition in honor of the occasion, “Literary Notes,” in full kilt attire. The keynote speaker was 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow (genius award), Dr. Terry Belanger, from the University of Virginia, who sought to impart on the audience the value of the book as both intellectual and artifactual property.

The book was unveiled by Dr. Karen N. White, Associate  Chancellor, and Dr. Mary Gauvain, chair of the Academic Senate , followed by moving faculty remarks from professors Thomas Cogswell and Susan Straight. Professor Cogswell concentrated on how libraries have shaped and aided his intellectual growth since childhood. He described first checking out a book of Edgar Allen Poe stories, which led him to another book and another and so on until he became the accomplished scholar we know today. Professor Straight, with the energy and sincerity that color all of her presentations and novels, remarked upon the thrill of finding something long sought in a library—just the right piece of inspiration—and the thrill she feels as an author when she sees her own books resting on similar shelves.

All speakers seemed to agree that the acquisition of this volume symbolizes a great step in the growth and quality of education at UCR, and the ways in which the contents of a library shapes and reflects the character of a university and the advancement of knowledge were discussed. The three millionth volume will be housed in special collections on the fourth floor of Rivera Library, eagerly awaiting the addition of the four millionth volume.

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