EXLIBRIS: Useful & Informative Listserv + A Miscellany of Other Interesting Bookish Links

- by Susan Halas


Exlibris is a free listserv packed with useful information. Commercial posts are allowed on Tuesday.

EXLIBRIS: Chances are unless you are a professional in the field of rare books, manuscripts and special collections, or operate at an elevated level in the book trade, the free EXLIBRIS listserv hosted by Indiana University may have escaped your notice. 


That’s your loss.


This is a truly informative and useful resource and its thousands of subscribers include librarians, archivists, scholars, researchers, conservationists, and academics of all stripes and nationalities. It’s threads are packed with useful bookish information, albeit some of it is esoteric and obscure. Nonetheless it is always interesting and one of the best ways to know what’s going on in the groves of academe.


Along with often arcane chat, EXLIBRIST posts frequently links to exhibits, seminars, talks, meetings, job openings and is especially a place where book related information is widely and generously exchanged.


Be warned that this list has an extensive set of rules and that subscribers are expected to follow them to the letter. In other words mind your manners and this is not the place to inquire about the value of your grandmother’s Bible.


EXLIBRIS allows commercial posts on TUESDAY ONLY. These posts reach a very knowledgeable audience and are well worth the time and effort to participate.


Lurking for at least a few weeks prior to participation is strongly suggested. The subscription link lays out the rules. BE SURE TO READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM EXACTLY. If you are a dealer and think you might want to post your elist on Tuesdays (the only day such commercial activity is permitted), READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMMERCIAL POSTS AND DO NOT DEVIATE.


Repeat: Tuesday only and only following their rules.


Subscribe to EXLIBRIS


Subscribe” button is at far left about half way down, followed by the “unsubscribe” link.

Note: Although Indiana University hosts the list it is not affiliated with the school.


One little quirk of EXLIBRIS is that if you do send a commercial post, everyone else on the list will get it except you; it will not show up in your own INbox. So if you want to be sure that your post has gone up best to send a blind cc to yourself.


Another important reminder is: Never hit the “reply” button unless you want your message to go to the entire list and not to a specific individual.


Also note that traffic is heavy on Tuesday, with the Euro dealers posting first, followed by the Americans. Some very beautiful (and often expensive) materials are offered on Tuesday; so even if you are not quite in that league yet, it’s a very good place to see new and select inventory. If you want a handle on who has what and what it costs, the Tuesday commercial posts are worth following.



Having problems with shipping using the US Postal Service? Various dealers have enthusiastically recommended PIRATE SHIP www.pirateship.com which bills itself as a free USPS software. I have not used it myself, but it comes highly recommended by multiple reputable dealers.



Do you use Paypal? Are there times you want to generate a shipping label that is not in response to a Paypal generated invoice? It’s not hard, but for some reason Paypal has taken some pains to hide the link. Here it is, suggest to put it someplace where you can find it again www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create


Besides making labels for material without prior existing Paypal invoices, this link is a useful workaround for international shipments. My recent experience is the regular link generated by Paypal does not always work when the shipment is headed outside the US. Before you tear your hair out trying to print out the label and customs info, try using www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create instead. This link seems to to have many fewer glitches than the usual way when it comes to shipping abroad.



The Rare Book School (RBS) at the University of Virginia is now accepting applications for their Summer 2021 courses. A five-day intensive course on the history of manuscript, print, and digital materials will be offered online and, conditions permitting, in person. A decision about in-person courses will be made no later than March 1. If courses move to an online format, more online courses will be announced.


Among the thirty-four courses, there are several pertinent to those involved in the study of rare books, manuscripts, special collections, and librarianship in special collections. These include two debut courses:


H-170: Spanish American Textual Technologies to 1800, taught by Hortensia Calvo, Christine Hernández, and Rachel Stein at Tulane University

L-120: Introduction to Audiovisual Archives Management, taught by Erica Titkemeyer and Steve Weiss at UNC-Chapel Hill


Explore the full RBS schedule here: rarebookschool.org/schedule


To be considered in the first round of admissions decisions, course applications should be submitted no later than March 3. Applications received after that date will be reviewed on a rolling basis, however, please note that some classes do reach capacity during the first round of admissions. Visit their website at www.rarebookschool.org for course details, instructions for applying, and evaluations by past students. Questions? Contact them at: rbsprograms@virginia.edu.



If you want to see what a truly exceptional university website looks like and have an enjoyable experience at the same time visit the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas (Austin). It is a bright and shining star. www.hrc.utexas.edu


During the period the physical center is closed due to the pandemic they have created a very user friendly entrance into exhibits, videos, blogs and other center functions called VISIT FROM HOME www.hrc.utexas.edu/visit-from-home Other parts of the Ransom Center site provide digital access to an astonishing number of archives and personal papers of well known and not so well known literary lights. Check it out.