This exhibit may appear to be about books, but it isn't. Or at least it isn't about books as objects. This exhibit is about the ideas writers express in books and the effect those ideas have on readers.
Only a few of the titles in this exhibit have achieved far-reaching and long-lasting acclaim. But every one of these books is of particular significance to at least one reader - the person who suggested it for inclusion in this exhibit.
We solicited entries for the exhibit from faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends, inviting them to write personal reflections of no more than 200 words on books that had changed their lives. We asked for books that had transformed thinking, were inspirational, or were the catalyst for a shift in perspective. We also sought books that had comforted readers or sparked their creativity. We even offered to display the childhood favorite that gave a reader his or her first sense of the power of books and reading.
The entries we received are displayed in cases in the lobby of Perkins Library and on the web at the links below. We chose to arrange the reflections and the books that inspired them by these general themes: personal growth, social activism and world view, transformation of thought, and personal inspiration.
The items from the collections of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library that are in this exhibit offer additional perspectives on the intimacy that characterizes the relationships creators and readers have with the written word.
The exhibits in the Perkins Gallery have been sponsored in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.