The Library History Buff

Promoting the appreciation, enjoyment, and preservation of library history



 Postal Librariana

Library History


Collecting Library Artifacts and Memorabilia

Cindi Trainor displaying 37 pieces of librariana at the 2007 ALA Conference.  The original (not this one) photo which was posted on Flickr has an unusual feature - by running your mouse over the photo you can see messages which explain some of the individual items which are displayed.






In his book A Guide to Collecting Librariana, Norman D. Stevens gives the following definition of librariana:

"Those artifacts, including but by no means limited to printed materials, that depict any aspect of librarians, librarianship, and/or libraries; such artifacts, which are most typically of an ephemeral nature, may be those produced or used by librarians or libraries as well as those produced and used by others; they include, in particular, representations of librarians, librarianship, and/or libraries in the popular culture of society."

The term librariana is used primarily on this Web site to refer to artifacts, memorabilia, souvenirs, and collectibles related to libraries, librarians, and their history. I have compiled some links that are primarily related to the representation of librarians and libraries in "the popular culture of society".

The collector of library artifacts and memorabilia can choose to be a generalist and collect a wide variety of  artifacts and memorabilia related to libraries and librarians or he or she may choose to specialize in certain areas such as library postcards or library souvenir china or any number of the collecting categories listed below.  The collector may also choose to collect items relating to a particular library such as the Library of Congress, a particular person such as Melvil Dewey, or a particular library organization such as the American Library Association.  The Norman D. Stevens Collection of Library Architecture located at the Canadian Centre for Architecture is arguably the world's largest collection of librariana.  Dan Lester is a collector who collects a wide variety of items. These are listed on his  Librariana Web page. I collect a little of everything but I specialize in Postal Librariana.

While Stevens' book is the "bible" of librariana collecting, an important ongoing source of librariana is the series of Whole Library Handbooks by George Eberhart.  Each of the handbooks has a chapter on librariana. The newest edition is The Whole Library Handbook 4.

Links to other librariana pages on this Web site

Librariana Links

Postal Librariana

Stock Certificates

Library Postcards

Souvenir China

Souvenir Spoons

Card Catalog Cabinets

Boston Public Library

Library Buttons

Library Bookplates

The Tabard Inn Library

Norman D. Stevens

Librariana Exhibits


 ALA Library War Service

Library Cards

Library Bookmarks

Trade Cards

Library Matchbooks

Melvil Dewey

Library Coins

Partial List of Library Artifacts and Memorabilia that are Collectible

American Library Association (items related to)
Annual reports
Autographs of library people
Bags (canvas, plastic, book bags, conference vendor bags)
Books on library history
Books published by libraries
Books with library related characters
Boston Public Library (items related to)
Business cards
Business card cases
Buttons (with pin backs)
Card catalogs
Cards, Catalog
Cards, Charge
Cards, Library Borrower's 
Cards, Playing
Carnegie libraries (items related to)
Cigar boxes
Cigarette lighters
Cigarette cases
Commemorative items
Conference memorabilia
Correspondence from librarians and related to libraries
Dedication materials
Envelopes (covers)
Greeting cards
Handbooks,  guides, maps, and other informational pieces
Matchbook covers
National Library Week materials
Paintings and prints
Pencils and pens
Postage Stamps
Postal Cards
Printed catalogs
Rubber stamps
Rules and regulations
Short stories about librarians or set in libraries
Shot glasses
Souvenir china
Souvenir spoons
Stock certificates and membership certificates
Supplies and supply catalogs
Trade Cards



 Postal Librariana

Library History

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Last updated: 12-10-13    2005-2013  Larry T. Nix
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