Research Opportunities Abound at the Reinberger Children’s Library Center:
A Collection of Special Collections

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pic1a_marantz-picturebook-collection_405A new year brings new opportunities. Why not consider applying for a fellowship with our friends at the Reinberger Children’s Library Center at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS)? The application period begins January 30th… so start mulling!

In case you missed it, this article by Michelle Baldini from our December online bonus issue provides more detail about the fellowships and some of the amazing research work by recent fellows. (And in case you missed the entire December issue online, subscribers can find an index of all the new articles by clicking here.)

Social justice in children’s books? Homelessness, immigrants, and indigenous communities in literature for children? Picture book research?

Academic research on picture books and other forms of children’s and youth literature is exactly what takes place in the Reinberger Children’s Library Center at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). The Reinberger boasts a collection of more than 40,000 picture books, original picture book art, posters relating to picture books that date back to 1924, historical children’s books, and more. This non-circulating special collection makes the school distinctive among other accredited American Library Association schools and youth library centers.

Historically, the Reinberger center has been a popular gathering space for conferences, workshops, meetings, and classes. Not to be overlooked, however, is the significant acquisition of rich and diverse materials in children’s literature that has made the Reinberger a meaningful research facility.

To encourage scholars to explore these rich collections, SLIS offers two annual research fellowships of up to $1,500 each: the Jacqueline M. Albers Guest Scholar in Children’s Literature Fellowship and the Kenneth and Sylvia Marantz Fellowship for Picturebook Research.

  • The Albers Fellowship provides funding for a scholar to study children’s literature using the collections in the Reinberger center.
  • The Marantz Fellowship encourages scholars from the United States and around the world to use the resources of the Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art in their research .

Since 2015, six fellowships have been awarded. The first recipient of the Albers Fellowship, Vikki C. Terrile of Brooklyn, New York, completed her on-site research at the center in summer 2015. Terrile’s project came from her outreach work with children in the homeless shelters. As she looked for books that had characters this population of children could relate to, she discovered how saturated picture books were with images depicting a safe middle class home environment with a room for each child. Terrile has since presented her findings in a paper delivered at the Children’s Literature Association Annual Conference in June 2016 and a poster presentation at the IFLA Conference in August 2016.

The second annual Albers Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Zoe Jaques from the University of Cambridge in 2016. Dr. Jaques’ research agenda in the Reinberger built on her earlier work on how interactivity has helped to shape early literacy across two centuries. For this visit, Dr. Jaques focused on the Marantz pop-up collection and considered the interconnections between book and toy—reading and playing.

Figure 2: Historical Childrens Book NookThe first recipient of the Marantz Fellowship, Denice L. Baldetti of Phoenix, Arizona, visited the center in 2015 to research her project titled, “Picture Clues: Exploring Visual and Textual Clues in Children’s Mystery Picture Books,” which offered a “critical examination of picture book illustrations, and particularly, how illustrations connect with the storyline to move the text of a mystery picture book forward.”

In conjunction with the inaugural Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium, hosted by SLIS in summer 2016, the fellowship committee decided to award three Marantz fellowships in homage to the late Dr. Ken and Sylvia Marantz.

Dr. Nicole Amy Cooke, assistant professor at the iSchool of Illinois and an expert on social justice and diversity, examined a selection from the Marantz collection, looking for depictions of social justice. Dr. Cooke plans on using her findings to teach future librarians about how messages of social justice can impact the daily work of librarians.

Dr. Claudia Mendes, a graphic artist and researcher from Brazil, completed her fellowship while participating in the Marantz symposium. During her visit, Dr. Mendes examined contemporary picture books to produce a comparative study of Brazilian and American works. Dr. Mendes also presented a paper on contemporary art in Brazilian picture books at the 2016 symposium.

Dr. Nicola Daly, of the University of Waikato in New Zealand, examined dual language picture books with languages from immigrant and indigenous communities. Dr. Daly will build on her previous research on linguistic diversity and the importance of diverse picture books in the classroom. She plans to present these findings at international conferences and submit them for publication in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, throughout her fellowship visit, Dr. Daly blogged about her findings and experience working with the Marantz Collection (http://nicolainmarantz.blogspot.com/).

As demonstrated by the examples above, the resources of the Reinberger Children’s Library Center and its myriad collections provide a treasure trove of opportunities for research into countless subjects in children’s and youth literature.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, January 30, 2017, and the third round of recipients will be announced on or before Monday, March 6, 2017.

Awardees of the 2017 $1,500 fellowships will have the opportunity to visit and study in the Reinberger Children’s Library Center’s beautiful rooms, using the center’s rich collections.

Reinberger Children’s Room

The Reinberger Children’s Room has more than 8,000 books, including many picture books, books for young adults, pop-ups and movables, board books, and multimedia. The collection also has a supporting professional collection and collections of significant children’s literature and award winning books. The Children’s Room collection can be searched via INFOhio.org through the NCC Online cataloging system: http://sirsi1.nccohio.org/opac/SLIS/RCLC/

Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art

The Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art is cataloged by illustrator and celebrates the artist or paper engineer (in the case of pop-ups and movables). The Marantz collection includes more than 30,000 books from the past 40+ years and an exhibition space. The collection can be searched through Kent State University’s KentLINK catalog: http://kentlink.kent.edu/

Pris and JDub’s Historical Children’s Book Nook

Figure 3: KobutoriIn the Pris and JDub’s Historical Children’s Book Nook, visitors will find historically significant 19th-century children’s books. Among the treasures here are an 1884 edition of Selections from Aesop’s Fables, versified by Clara Doty Bates; examples of hand-colored engravings in Pictures and Knowledge by J. Bishop; and a rare example of Yotsume toji binding (pouch binding adhered with silk string) in Kobutori & the Old Man & the Devils, No. 7, Japanese Fairy Tale Series. The collection also includes chapbooks and hornbooks.

Marantz Interactive Media Lab

Figure 4: Interactive Media LabIn stark contrast to the historical collections is the Marantz Interactive Media Lab (The “Box”) where a mobile lab of 17 iPads can be used to peruse preselected K-12 apps and a Makerbot 3D printer that can bring picture book objects to life.

About the Reinberger Children’s Library Center

The center’s mission is to build diverse collections of children’s literature across geographic, cultural, physical, technological, and temporal borders. The collections represent the best literature and related materials for young people, and demonstrate the processes involved in producing, publishing, and marketing this literature. Researchers will discover evidence for changes over time, from evolving means of production to differing constructions of childhood. In addition, the center offers practitioners opportunities to study the connections between literacy, reading, and digital technologies.

Notable collections and holdings include:

  • Figure 5: Punch and JudyThe Carol and Guy Wolfenbarger Collection of Original Picturebook Art
  • The Margaret Alexander Beatrix Potter Collection
  • Personal collections from Alma Flor Ada, May Hill Arbuthnot, Virginia Hamilton, and Rosemary Wells.
  • A substantial collection of books by Maurice Sendak, including two original sketches.
  • The Darwin Henderson collection of framed and autographed posters as well as 2000+ publisher posters from renowned illustrators.
  • The Carol G. Davis Pop-Up Collection, which contains over 600 pop-ups and movable books.
  • A complete collection of Newbery books and a nearly complete set of Caldecott winners and Caldecott honor books, as well as the Buckeye Children’s Book Award Collection and Archives.
  • Original art by artists Kristin Blackwood, Cece Bell, Tomie dePaola, Mordicai Gerstein, Laura Huliska-Beith, Lois Lenski, David Macaulay, Yuyi Morales, Cynthia Rylant, Will Hillenbrand, and others.
  • A collection of toys, models, dioramas, games, and manipulatives, as well as an extensive puppet collection.
  • The Marantz historical coloring book and button collection with materials from the 1970s to the present.
  • A special local collection of Ohio children’s book authors, and 900+ folklore books donated by the Cuyahoga County Library.
  • The Historical Children’s Book Collection from Dayton Metropolitan Library. This collection of more than 7,000 volumes also includes hundreds of ephemera, posters, and magazines related to the study of children’s books.

To pursue scholarly research using the Reinberger Children’s Library Center collections or to schedule a tour, please contact the Coordinator of the Reinberger, Michelle R. Baldini at: mbaldini@kent.edu

For more information please visit: http://www.kent.edu/slis/reinberger-childrens-library-center

Michelle R. Baldini, MLIS, is the Coordinator of the Reinberger Children’s Library Center at Kent State University in Kent, OH. She earned her master’s in library science from Long Island University, C.W. Post. Baldini is the author of the young adult novel, Unraveling (Delacorte Press, July 2008). Email: mbaldini@kent.edu
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