Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Comment from a writer ...

This note from Jane Yolen, over on sff.net, is posted with her permission, and I think it's another good one to think about. If you have kids and you don't know who Jane Yolen is, you want to fix that real soon! Anyway, here's an admirable thought from Jane, and I'll post my reply to that in the comments:

Hmmm--children's book mss and illustration collections don't seem to have that kind of fate: the Kerlan at the U of Minn has its own building, Friends, gallery,library, and scholars use it all the time. Ditto the collections at UConn, and the De Grummond Collection at the Un of Southern Missippi. Keene State's collection is small but growing.

I wonder why the sf collections are treated badly, or at least badly in your eyes.


1 comment:

John Barnes said...

I suspect it just has to do with people not knowing what they are looking at,
which of course is exactly the problem with theatre collections. A paper set
model may be where Robert Edmond Jones or Gordon Craig did most of the thinking
and deciding, but to a grad student library assistant, it's a small dusty collection
of painted paper stuck together with rubber cement, and takes up shelf space;
much the same way for, for example, Heinlein's "kitchen table covered with butcher
paper" that he used to plot an orbit for SPACE CADET, if that butcher paper
still existed. So it's quite possible that the new facilities -- the museum
in Seattle, and the expanding collection at U of Kansas -- may change all this.
I'm just less optimistic than I might be because even the best theatre museums
under university control are subject to raids by the people upstairs -- who
don't necessarily know what they are raiding, or care. You may be able to train
one special collections librarian but you can't necessarily overcome the problem
that his or her boss is committed to more conversational space or getting another
50 computers into the building.

One big advantage that children's lit may have is simply that more librarians
understand it, and the materials it includes may just be fairly easy to see
as having something to do with the finished product.