Children's literature showcased in library


“Great Expectations”, by Charles Dickens, is a part of the exhibit in Gorgas Library. (Photo Courtesy of Donna B. Adcock)

John Hinshaw

Donna Adcock, director of public relations at Gorgas Library, said the idea for this exhibit was inspired by the rich collection of children’s literature in the Division of Special Collections housed in the W.S. Hoole Library.

“Many of the books are part of a collection of decorative book bindings from the 19th and early 20th centuries and appear in Publishers’ Bindings Online, 1815-1930: The Art of Books,” Adcock said. “This exhibit gave us a chance to showcase a few of ?the books.”

The importance and appeal of each book ranges from the content itself to the way in which the content is presented. Books such as “Tom Sawyer” boast the actual storytelling and writing prowess of the author, whereas other books may be focused more on the aesthetic appeal. One book interested more in aesthetic appeal is “The Sleeping Beauty: A Peepshow Book,” which Adcock said is her ?personal favorite.

“This book is part of a series of peep-show books depicting children’s fairy tales,” Adcock said. “When opened, the book displays six ?panels in the round.”

The exhibit’s setup and organization was handled by Ellie Campbell, the curator at the W.S. Hoole Library. Campbell, a UA graduate, said this was her first time curating an exhibit at Gorgas Library.

“I have been at the University for four years – I graduated with my J.D. last May and will graduate from the MLIS program in August,” Campbell said. “I had assisted with a few smaller exhibits at Hoole, but this was the first one where I was the sole curator.”

Originally, the Hoole Library wanted to do an exhibit on children’s literature in general, but Campbell decided to narrow it down to the major authors of the Golden Age of Children’s Literature. As the curator of the exhibit, she handled all aspects of it aside from writing the books herself.

“As curator, I first searched through all of the library’s holdings related to children’s literature,” Campbell said. “I researched the topic and wrote the text for the exhibit, and then hauled all of the items from Hoole over to Gorgas and set up the display.”

Exhibits held in the summer tend to get less attention due to the decrease in student population on campus, but Campbell said this exhibit has garnered nothing but positive response.

“As far as I know, the reception has been great,” Campbell said. “We’ve received a lot of compliments, and I’m happy people are ?enjoying it.”