Last week, WFHB Interchange host Dave Stewart interviewed our own Cherry Williams about the Lilly Library, its collections and 50th anniversary, and her role as Curator of Manuscripts. Cherry talked about rare books and special collections at IU predating the Lilly Library, as well the history of IU’s treasured rare books, manuscripts and special collections library.
Many of the people who visit the Lilly Library, including WFHB’s Dave Stewart, are struck by the unique collections and feel a sense of awe or excitement when surrounded by the special materials housed within the Lilly Library building. As Cherry explained in her interview, there may be a number of reasons for this common experience. Some people are fascinated by the antiquity of many of the Lilly Library’s collections; there are, for example, medieval manuscripts dating from the 12th century, a Gutenberg Bible from the 15th century, and copies of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Others are excited by a particular item’s provenance, or history of ownership. What famous person owned (and touched) an item before it came to be at the Lilly Library? You would be surprised!
Finally, what strikes many Lilly Library visitors – and what drew Cherry Williams to apply for her post as Curator of Manuscripts – is that all of these wonderful collections of rare and special materials are accessible to the general public. None of the items in the Lilly Library are permitted to leave the Lilly Library, but nearly all of them may be viewed by anyone who wants to see them – either in one of the library’s galleries or by request in the Reading Room (which was renovated just last summer).
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Lilly Library will present three exhibitions this year the first of which is called Treasures of the Lilly Library.
You can listen to the entire WFHB interview with Cherry Williams online, or download it, at http://www.wfhb.org/news/interchange-cherry-williams-inside-ius-lilly-library.