Defining a Rare Text
Hope College's Van Wylen library is home to our campus' best kept secret: the rare book room. This room houses books which have been deemed rare texts. Several things can quailify a book as rare. The most obvious specification being a limited number of printed copies in circulation. A book may also achieve rare status if it bears the signature of the author or a significant owner. Also a book may have a unique importance to its owner.
The scope of the rare book room is vast, housing everything from theological to scientific and mathematical texts. Dates range back to the late 15th century and appraisals reach well in to the thousands. Among the a collection of about twenty rare science texts, the most historically significant are Euclid's Elementia , Archimede's Tetragonisums and Tabulae Rudolphinae by Johannes Kepler.
Colleen Conway, associate professor and catalogue librarian from Van Wylen, further explains the importance of maintaining a rare books collection.