Joel Silver Named Director of Lilly Library

- by Susan Halas


Lilly Library on campus of Indiana University in Bloomington.

He does not think the book as a physical object will be going away any time soon, though he does see - as the digital world progresses - “the emphasis is shifting to manuscript materials and ephemera.”

As for deaccessioning, the process by which libraries move out duplicates and other material that they no longer want, Silver stated “the Lilly does not deaccession.” It does however pass along its “out of scope materials” to other libraries in the IU network of schools and facilities.

When it comes to gifts, “We love them, but please, not unsolicited.” Silver advised prospective benefactors to consult with the library before making the donation, and lamented that many people continue to believe if the volume in hand is more than 20 years old “it is very old and must be valuable.”

The new director comes with a substantial reputation for scholarship, writing and teaching. For many years he has offered a course on rare books reference materials at IU. In 2012, for the first time, he presented a five day version at the University of Virginia’s Rare Books School. He’s back in Charlottesville this year in July for a second installment.

Silver said the course covers an estimated 350 sources both print and electronic. Last year’s students (a mix of dealers, librarians and others in the field) gave it excellent reviews. (Links to this and other summer courses follow).