Teaching teens with rare books


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Presentation by Eileen M. Bentsen
Associate Librarian, Reference & Instruction Baylor University Jesse H. Jones Library from the WESS Classical Medieval Renaissance Discussion Group Midwinter Meeting in San Diego (January 2011)

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  • Intro self, and mention Jennifer
  • Fall of 2009 contacted by former BU student teaching at local private school, Live Oak Classical School. Live Oak follows a classical trivium and she was teaching students in the Grammar and Rhetoric levels (8 th – 10 th grades) in literature. We hosted 29 students from this group in January 2010.
  • February 2010 – Jennifer and I were asked to help with an unexpectedly large class from another local private school in any way we could. Less than 24 hours notice. Distinguish between the Central Libraries’ special collections and ABL/Texas/Poage Centerpiece of the presentations are two of the bound mss in the Crouch Fine Arts Libraries’ Jennings Collection Medieval music mss and single folios from the 11 th - 16 th centuries, 11 items total Collection purchased in 1935, little is known of the provenance of any of the items in the collection Collection focus is variation in musical notation styles, texts are liturgical (both mass and divine office) A small collection of incunabula & facsimiles to supplement/expand scope
  • General info on outcomes for each session Specifics: Live Oak : ~ 75-80 minutes each in Rare Book room & in “Scriptorium” Impact of print culture on knowledge diffusion Involvement with specific type of book (bestiary, books of hours, bibles, literature, etc.) Types of literacy Pervasiveness of Catholic christian culture in the Middle Ages We inserted a print to digital transition component Texas Christian: ~ 60 minute session Latin translation Latin basis of book terminology Abbreviations Typeface emulation of mss Mss to book history Cataloging’s importance to making content of rare books known (no title page, no table of contents, no defined “chapters”
  • Concerns we had and what we discovered we should have had regarding this user group Issues with actively engaging the Live Oak students for such a long time and in two separate groups
  • Pre-visit preparation
  • Interactive session information
  • Latin class text, what we did with this one. Bib info: Sermones de patientia in Job et de poenitentia. [Edited and translated by Lelius Tifernas] Pub Info Nuremberg [Johann Sensenschmidt] Nov. 14, 1471.
  • What we learned from the sessions These opportunities came about because of the exposure to facsimiles and rare books which each teacher had as an undergraduate Faculty who raise the expectation that undergrads can and should have ability to access rare materials Don’t need to provide access to actual mss; this age was equally impressed with facsimiles
  • Evaluations we conducted and results.
  • Teaching teens with rare books

    1. 1. Eileen M. Bentsen & Jennifer Borderud Baylor University Libraries
    2. 2. Opportunity #1 <ul><li>Live Oak Classical School </li></ul><ul><li>29 students, grades 9 - 11 </li></ul><ul><li>Mss to print culture focus </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive planning </li></ul>
    3. 3. Opportunity #2 <ul><li>Texas Christian Academy </li></ul><ul><li>Materials in support of Latin classes </li></ul><ul><li>25 students, grades 7 – 10 </li></ul><ul><li>Very impromptu preparation (<24 hours) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Content <ul><li>actively engage </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant to class content </li></ul><ul><li>What’s “rare” </li></ul><ul><li>Experience rules of a rare books library </li></ul><ul><li>Scriptorium” experience (Live Oak) </li></ul><ul><li>Digital impact </li></ul>
    5. 5. Challenges <ul><li>actively engaging </li></ul><ul><li>large group – small room; divided groups </li></ul><ul><li>“ scriptorium” content </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ age range </li></ul><ul><li>short lead time for TCA </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>asked what students wanted to see </li></ul><ul><li>asked that classes view “Mr. Bean Goes to the Library” on YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>asked instructor to explain rare book room use rules to class </li></ul>Live Oak - Prep
    7. 7. Scriptorium <ul><li>What makes for “rare” discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Viewed section of B. J. Muir’s “Making of a Medieval Manuscript” (Evellum, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Practice in uncial script (www.learncalligraphy. co.uk/uncial.html) </li></ul><ul><li>Held in seminar room </li></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>Chosen because already digitized </li></ul><ul><li>Discussed similarities with mss </li></ul><ul><li>Latin terminology for mss & incunabula </li></ul><ul><li>Translation </li></ul><ul><li>Held in Fine Arts Library Seminar Room </li></ul>Latin Text
    9. 9. <ul><li>Asked students to see what they could make of this sentence of the book. </li></ul>Translation
    10. 10. Pleasant Surprises <ul><li>pride/respect towards materials </li></ul><ul><li>interest in topic </li></ul><ul><li>bring cataloging into the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>applications of languages beyond their classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Latin knowledge increased interest </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>Three questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What did you like best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Name something you learned from the visit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What was the least interesting part of the visit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sent almost 2 months after visit </li></ul><ul><li>Muir’s video was least liked item for the Live Oak students; translating portion for the TCA students </li></ul><ul><li>Both favored the display of the mss and facsimiles </li></ul><ul><li>Liked and/or asked for interactive work </li></ul>