An affiliated foundation of the University of Virginia (UVA), Rare Book School (RBS) is a non-profit organization that serves as a world-leading institute for the study of written, printed, and born-digital materials. In 2010, RBS was generously awarded a grant by the Jefferson Trust to launch the RBS-UVA Fellowship Program. In just half a year, the program has already substantially enhanced the research of UVA undergraduate and graduate students who are working with original source materials. They look forward to publishing to their website projects of the seven RBS-UVA Fellows in 2012, and to sponsoring another cohort of seven students for the 2012−13 academic year.
They will begin a new project to build on the success of the RBS-UVA Fellowship Program, and that will engage a broader audience at the University by informing students about the history and changing technologies of books. The series, entitled “Why Books Matter,” was comprised of three events: 1) a launch in the fall semester of 2012 that will feature a student-curated Rotunda exhibition, entitled “Turning the Page: Technology and Innovation in the C19 Book”; 2) a University-wide competition, open to both undergraduate and graduate students, inviting them to submit an essay, fine arts project, or technological design/business model that addresses the question “Why do books matter?”; and 3) a student-curated Rotunda exhibition, entitled “Books That Take Us Lands Away: Education By Way of the ‘Grand Tour’”; the opening of this exhibition will coincide with the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) conference taking place at UVA in March 2013.