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Special Collections

Adopt a Book

Adopt a Book - logoHelp support vital conservation work in Exeter Library’s Special Collections Archive, protecting Exeter’s heritage for future generations.

Exeter Library’s Special Collections Archive consists of around 6000 items, many of which are rare or even unique. The oldest item in the Archive is an Incunable dating from 1480 and is one of only 80 copies in existence. The other items range in date from 1480 to c.1900 and offer an exceptional record of the printed word through time.

Due to age and normal wear and tear through constant use, some important books in the Archive are becoming difficult to view and enjoy without increased conservation support. From simple repairs to full-scale restoration, many of the items are in need of care and attention from a professional book restorer.

It is vital that our unique Archive is kept in good condition to ensure that people can continue to access it for years to come. By adopting one of our identified priority titles, with just £25.00 you can support the conservation of Exeter Library’s Special Collections Archive, making these irreplaceable books more accessible both now and in the future.

How do I Adopt a Book?

Below is the list of books that Exeter Library has identified as priority titles in need of restoration. This is based on the fragility of the items and on the level of demand for access to the books.

  1. Choose the book you’d like to adopt from the list of priority titles (alternatively, you may choose for your donation to go towards the purchase of consumable materials for use in the Archive such as acid-free book boxes, labels and display resources).
  2. Choose how much you would like to donate (recommended £25.00).
  3. Fill out the donation form on the Adopt a Book leaflet. You can pick up a leaflet from Exeter Library or you can print a copy here Adopt a Book leaflet image - PDF icon (1.34MB - pdf help)..
  4. Return the form and a cheque for the appropriate amount to Exeter Library. Please make cheques payable to Libraries Unlimited South West.

All money raised through Adopt a Book will go directly towards the restoration of the priority items or towards purchasing consumable materials for Exeter Library’s Special Collections Archive.

Adopt a Book - restoration project

What do I get when I Adopt a Book?

In return for your donation you or the recipient will receive:

  • A specially designed certificate
  • Email newsletters about Exeter Library’s Special Collections Archive and the ongoing conservation work
  • Your donation recognised online and in Exeter Library’s annual Adopt a Book exhibition

Your donation of £25.00 could:

  • Provide the means to rebind a fragile book
  • Buy materials for five acid free book boxes to prevent further deterioration of delicate paper
  • Cover the cost of 50 minor paper repairs

Exeter Library’s restoration objective is to use as much of the original materials and binding history as possible. Where new materials must be incorporated the look of the old will complement the strength of the new. The benefit is the future longevity of the individual bindings, as well as the library as a whole.

Book List

These 10 titles are books that Exeter Library has identified as being priority items for restoration. Your donation will go directly towards the repair and conservation of your selected book. When the total amount necessary for the restoration of each book has been raised the work required on that item will take place in its entirety. Please select a title from the list, or click an image for more information about the work, and how to adopt.

  1. English Men of Letters: The Life of Thomas Gray, by Edmund Gosse, 1882 - Adopted by KOR Communications
  2. The Infant's Cabinet of Birds - made and sold by John Marshall, 1800 - Adopted by Jocelyn and Sebastian Clark
  3. Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius - Collected Love Poems of Three Roman Poets, 1502 - Adopted by Simon Timms
  4. The Works of Oscar Wilde, published by Lamb Publishing, New York, 1909 - Adopted by the Rackenford Reading Group
  5. The Staten Bible, published in 1637 - Adopted by Frances Warwick, Paul Rachel and David Guest, Anthony Dent, Adrian Francis, Jill Currie and Richmond Hunt
  6. The First Folio, facsimile edition of the Chatsworth copy
  7. A Complete Body of Ancient Geography, by Mons. D'Anville, 1775
  8. The Arundel Society Portfolio
  9. Engravings from Munich - Adopted by Frances Warwick and Teresa Curtis
  10. Incunable, by Nicolaus Panormitanus de Tudeschis, 1480 - Adopted by John Martyn

The Life of Thomas Gray, by Edmund Gosse, 1882Marshall - The Infants Cabinet of Birds - AdoptedCatullus, Tibullus, Propertius - adpoted
The Works of Oscar Wilde - AdoptedThe Staten Bible - adoptedThe First Folio, facsimile edition of the Chatsworth copy
A Complete Body of Ancient Geography, by Mons. D'Anville, 1775The Arundel Society PortfolioEngravings from Munich - adoptedIncumable, by Nicolaus Panormitanus de Tudeschis, 1480

This project is supported by Carnegie Library Lab.

Carnegie Library Lab - logo