I recently met up with a friend to study with at Kent Library and I told them something along the lines of “I’m here but I’m going to use the restroom by the rare book room” She retorted with something like “We have a rare book room?” and I couldn’t believe that they didn’t know about the amazing treasure that Southeast Missouri State University’s Kent library holds. 

I have had the pleasure of being able to go inside the rare book. An art history class that I took that was being taught by Dr. Joni Hand, who has her Ph.D. in Art History, attended an on-campus field trip to The Rare Book Room to look at manuscripts and other rare books from the Renaissance time period. The Rare Book Room is chock full of books written by William Faulkner, some are even in different languages! Kent Library actually has such an amazing collection of William Faulker works that there are conferences held every two years in Cape Girardeau to celebrate his works along with one more author which rotates out every conference. For more information about the Faulker Studies/Conferences in Cape Girardeau here is the link to the page with more information if you are interested: https://semo.edu/faulkner-studies/conferences/ In 2022 the conference was held and it was about William Faulkner and Jasmine Ward. I was in a screenprinting class at the time and we were assigned to make “book cover” like prints to be shown at Catapult (a local community galley space in Cape Girardeau)  during the time of the conference! You can see the print I made for this assignment as well as some of my classmate’s prints in my book “METANOIA” featured on my portfolio page.

Along with The Rare Book Room, there is also a room in Kent Library for Special Collections & Archives. In this room I have worked on cleaning, assessing, and making archival boxes for a few books from The Rare Book Room for a scholarship with the supervision of Dr. Hand. The Art and Design department here at SEMO posted on their Instagram about the whole process stating as follows, “…Five students participated in this project. They analyzed the condition of thirteen manuscripts in the collection, took measurements of each item, created archival boxes to protect the items from further damage, and cleaned and rehoused each item in its new archival box. This project was done in collaboration with Tyson Koenig and Dean Barbara Glackin. The following students took part in this project during the fall semester of 2022: Kaitlyn Abt, Erin Ashwell, Rebecca Byington, Bailey Lawless, and Sophie White.

By the end of the semester, each student had gone through the entire process of identifying, documenting, and preserving by creating archival boxes, and placing the manuscript within the box they created. This project was important to the preservation of the Charles Luce Harrison Collection, but equally valuable as an experiential learning opportunity for our students.” https://www.instagram.com/p/CqoGS3XPNV4/ 

https://www.kfvs12.com/video/2020/10/21/inside-kent-library-rare-book-room/ This news clip from a few years ago is a great resource to understand more about the rare book room in a video format. 

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