Unpacking the Personal Library: The Many Meanings of Collection

Sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Recorded on 10/17/2022
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 284

Unpacking the Personal Library book cover. Wooden sculpture of open book with paper lines, some missing. White background and black text.

A library collection is more than its contents. The setting, purpose, or owner all influence a library’s definition and relationship with a reader. The various contexts surrounding a collection—whether political, social, or personal—transform how it is used, categorized, and preserved. As Jeffrey Weingarten, coeditor of Unpacking the Personal Library: The Public and Private Life of Books, puts it, “the meaning of the library is fluid; it’s ever-changing.”

In this second episode, Jason Camlot and Jeffrey, coeditors of Unpacking the Personal Library, outline the types of library collections covered in the title, highlighting unconventional offerings like embassy collections and protest libraries. They also dig into the knowledge and intricacies that physical objects carry, and how that value conflicts with the increasing push toward digitization. Last, Jason draws connections to his work on Spoken Web, a global partnership that aims to digitize and preserve literary sound recordings in Canada.

About the guests:

Jason Camlot
Professor of English and Research Chair in Literature and Sound Studies
Concordia University

Jason Camlot is Professor of English and Research Chair in Literature and Sound Studies at Concordia University. Recent books include Phonopoetics (Stanford, 2019), CanLit Across Media (MQUP, 2019) and Vlarf (MQUP 2021). He is director of the SSHRC-funded SpokenWeb research partnership that focuses on literary audio collections.

J.A. Weingarten headshot

J.A. Weingarten
Professor in the School of Language and Liberal Studies
Fanshawe College

J.A. Weingarten is a Professor in the School of Language and Liberal Studies at Fanshawe College. He is also the author of Sharing the Past (UTP, 2019), as well as more than three dozen articles, book reviews, and papers on Canadian arts and culture.

Enjoy the conversation? Listen to the rest of the series:

Check out our previous series with Wilfrid Laurier University Press:
– Cultivating Indigenous Studies
– Michelle Porter and the Métis Way
– Looking at Community Music
– The Making of DisPlace
– Prison Life Writing

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