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USF Special Collections Shows Off 'Favorite Things'

Mark Schreiner
WUSF 89.7 News

They're not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but the staff of USF Tampa Library's Special Collections is putting a few of their favorite things on display for the public for one day only.

According to Special Collections' librarian Andy Huse, the event, A Few of Our Favorite Things (Thursday, July 17 from 1-3 p.m.), allows he and his colleagues on the library's fourth floor to show off some of the most interesting objects, ranging from centuries-old spiritual texts and rare maps to Babylonian clay tablets and Victorian-era novels.

"Special Collections tends to be a well-kept secret, as well as all the kinds of great stuff that we have back here, so this is a chance for some of the librarians here to really showcase what they consider their favorite things," Huse said.

"Each one of us kind of has a different subject specialty area and things that we kind of obsess over back here, so we're going to be pulling out some of our favorite things and talking about them and then inviting the public to have a look."

Huse will show off a scale model of a 120-foot tall Picasso sculpture that was supposed to be erected at USF in the 1970's. The wooden replica is one of only two such representations of Picasso's proposed 10 story tall, $15 million concrete bust of a woman. According to a newspaper article found in Special Collections, a shortage of funds doomed the project.

Librarian Matthew Knight will talk about some World War II-era items, as well as some material from one of his other interests - Celtic studies. Librarian Melanie Griffin will talk about young adult and childrens' novels from the Victorian Age.

Huse says while there's similarities between collections like that of the library's and one you might find in a museum, "the big difference between us and a museum is a museum tends to be a private collection, a collection that's kept behind glass, kept behind closed doors. 

"Whereas our collections are really meant to be used, our collections are meant to be handled, are meant to be learned from, and then hopefully written about in theses, dissertations, research papers, etcetera," he adds.

Tours of the archives will also be offered. The event, part of the City of Tampa's Archives Awareness Week, is free and runs from 1 to 3 p.m. Directions and parking information can be found here.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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