Though MSU Libraries remain closed to the public due to COVID-19, we are preparing to welcome students this fall, and we are working on changes inside our Library to welcome people safely. Our goal is to reopen to the public August 24. Until then (and after), we will continue to offer virtual services. Many resources remain available. Please see our Online and Distance Learning resource page for specific Library resources. Reference services are still available via chat and phone. We do have temporary policies for returning/renewing material.
Introduction to the Exhibit
The book in the codex form, or the book as we know it today, has been around for nearly 2000 years. But the books we read today look nothing like those early books bound by the Copts and early Christians. This exhibit offers examples of bindings from throughout the ages, beginning with some of the oldest books in the collection, from the 15th century. Each page shows a different era of binding and how the styles have changed through the centuries. Some mention of structure is here and there, but the focus is on the style and the materials used.
Dating a bookbinding can be difficult. Unlike the printing, a binding can be changed, altered, removed and rebound at any point in time. Some of the books in this exhibit do not have their original bindings or have been repaired; these changes have been noted when known. Other bindings may look like an earlier style, but be more modern than they look. Whatever the case, these books will show how the bindings of books have changed over time and offer an appreciation and celebration of the book as physical object.