The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Dec. 7, 2001

'Book Drop' vending machine offers unique holiday gift idea

University of Iowa bookCenter for the Book studies students are offering a unique holiday gift idea along with an unusual shopping experience. Handmade books and kits for binding your own books are available at a new "Book Drop" vending machine installed in the North Lobby of the University of Iowa's Main Library. The book arts vending project grew out of a class offered at the UI Librariesy, Structure of the Handmade Book. The class is a collaborative effort by the UI Center for the Book (UICB) and the UI Libraries.

The machine is stocked with a selection of items bound to delight any book lover, including Ethiopian bookbinding kits, Japanese stab bindings, and long-stitch bindings ideal for personal notes. Items range in price from $5 to $15. Aramark Incorporated is providing the vending machine and technical support for the project. Income from sales of the books and kits will benefit the development of UI book studies curriculum.

"The book is often taken for granted," says Kristin Baum, assistant conservator and UICB UI Center for the Book student. "This project is a great opportunity for us not only to educate the UI community about the Center for the Book, but also to excite others about the diversity and rich history of the book. By placing historical book structures in an unusual and contemporary context--the vending machine--we are urging people to consider the book from a new perspective."

The Center for the Book at the UI has some of the best facilities and staff in the world for the study of the physical book and the role of the book in culture. The UICB also produces specialized handmade papers used in rare book and art conservation, and hand printed literary fine press books. The UI Libraries Conservation Unit provides physical treatment for all of the libraries collections, both circulating and non-circulating, rare books, and manuscripts. UI Libraries hold unique collections related to book studies including a collection of historical book binding models. The UI Libraries and the UI Center for the Book collaborate on projects and programs that will enhance access to and appreciation for the written record in all of its various forms.

For more information contact Tim Barrett, director, UI Center for the Book at (319) 331-5013 or Gary Frost, University Conservator at (319) 335-5908.