CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated who Spooky Books at Wilson Library is open to. The event will be private and only open to members of the Society for the Study of Incunabula, Manuscripts and Rare Books. The story has been updated with the correct information about the event. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
UNC’s Society for the Study of Incunabula, Manuscripts and Rare Books (SSIMR) is kicking off spooky season with a hands-on event featuring rare books and Halloween creatures.
The SSIMR is hosting the event Spooky Books at Wilson Library, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The event aims to teach students how to properly handle rare books and learn about the origins of modern Halloween traditions. Spooky Books at Wilson Library is open to members of the Society for the Study of Incunabula, Manuscripts and Rare Books and includes lunch at TRU Deli & Wine after the spooky show-and-tell.
The society is a new student organization led by several graduate students in UNC’s School of Information and Library Science. They hope to help students better understand the resources that are available to them, teach skills needed to handle rare artifacts and make Wilson Library a little less intimidating.
“Everyone on campus has seen Wilson Library, but I don’t think many people have seen the sort of things they have inside,” said Gaby Hale, a member of SSIMR who works at Wilson Library. “It would be a great opportunity to get a quick peek at the things that honestly belong to them. It’s a public university — if you’re living in North Carolina, it’s yours.”
The event will focus on the historic books and manuscripts found in Wilson Library featuring illustrations of witches, vampires and werewolves that explain the origins and history behind these well-known Halloween figures.
“We’ll be using books to look at the ways people perceive Halloween and the supernatural change over time,” said Hunter Corb, vice president of SSIMR. “The one that’s most interesting is the figure of the devil, who has evolved from the angel of light into the kind of character that you see in ‘Paradise Lost’ and on Halloween in general, with a pitchfork and horns.”
Hale said these rare books impact both the past and the present and continue to be cherished.
“It really shows that these things had an impact on people’s lives and continue to have an impact on our lives today, ” Hale said.
James Pearson, graduate student and president of the society, said a lot of cultural history is stored in books that are no longer published, and that studying these rare books helps to gain a sense of this culture.
“It’s not because they’re rare that they’re interesting,” Pearson said. “They’re rare by virtue of the fact that they are often no longer in common use. But in order to understand our culture and our history, we need to have access to these items and preserve them for the future.”
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