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Chiming in on the thread regarding the advantages of actually
handling biblio-rarities - while attending library school in
Philly, I had the great good fortune of taking a course on rare
books, which was given by an adjunct professor name Heaney at
the Free Library of Philadelphia. We met in their sacred environs,
somewhere in the labyrinths of that great library.  Prof. Heaney
(who had just previously been Thomas Streeter's bibliographer)
would "show and tell" incunabula, cuneiforms, fine press books,
Malayan palm leaf "books", concealed foredge paintings, quaint
and curious bindings, etc., etc., and we could actually handle the
items. This was the inception of my interest in "books about books",
and structured my collecting interests.  To echo a previous poster,
and speaking as the recently retired curator of such a collection,
most museums and libraries are delighted to show their treasures,
and I would encourage everyone to avail themselves of this largesse.

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