CONTACT: TOM SNEE
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Jan. 17, 2003
New Iowa City group revels in the book
Photo l to r: Sid Huttner, Arthur Bonfield
Is the book dead? A group of book lovers and collectors from the Iowa City
area doesnt think so and have formed a new organization to promote the
vitality of the word on the printed page.
The Iowa bibliophiles formed last fall and drew about 35 people to its first
discussion in November, according to Sid Huttner, special collections librarian
at the UI Libraries who co-founded the group with Arthur Bonfield, a professor
in the UI College of Law and associate dean in charge of the colleges
law library. Huttner said the public is encouraged to attend the monthly meetings,
which resume Feb. 12.
The group is for anyone with a serious interest in books, their creation,
preservation, and collecting, said Huttner. From book designers
to publishers and bookbinders, to buyers, sellers, librarians, anyone who
just plain loves and accumulates books, we encourage all of them to join us.
Although some critics say the book wont survive the electronic revolution,
bibliophiles believe books have a healthy future because they provide a vitality
that cant be matched by words electronically reproduced on a computer
While some say the book is dying, others see a resurgence of interest
in books and point to the book's exuberant vitality, said Huttner. Our
group is made up of people who believe the latter.
The genesis for the bibliophiles came in a meeting last summer between Bonfieldwho
had wanted to start a book group in Iowa City for many yearsand Huttner,
who had formed one in Tulsa, Okla. several years ago when he worked there,
along with David Schoonover, the UI Libraries rare book curator. The
group held its first meeting in November and heard about Bonfields life-long
love of book collecting, Confessions of a Bibliomaniac. Future
meetings will feature Schoonover discussing the librarys Louis Szathmary
collection of culinary arts books in February; and Shari DeGraw, printing
specialist in the UI Center for the Book, discussing letterpress print and
bookmaking in March.
The group meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Special
Collections room on the third floor of the UI Main Library. Meetings will
not be held in June, July or August. Huttner said the group is still just
loosely organized, but hopes to put together a more formal organizational
structure later this spring.