Get Involved

Does your library want to host a Book Traces day?

Libraries at Columbia University, the University of Miami, and others have hosted Book Traces days, inviting students to search their stacks for uniquely modified volumes. The hunt gives students a chance to make unique discoveries while engaged in a hands-on learning activity. Many of the finds featured on resulted from these Book Traces days.

Please contact Prof. Andrew Stauffer for advice on how to set up a Book Traces activity at your library. You can also read Columbia University librarian Karla Nielson’s blog post about setting up a Book Traces day at the Butler Library in 2014 and a Miami Hurricane article about Book Traces day at the University of Miami’s Richter Library.

Do you want to do a Book Traces survey at your library?

While (founded in 2014) was inspired by the informal, serendipitous activity of looking for uniquely modified volumes in circulating stacks, Book Traces @ UVA (2015-2017) represented a methodical, statistically guided effort to identify such books and formally describe them in the UVA Library catalog. More recently, Book Traces surveys have taken the form of a mobile app enabling teams of trained students to sample the collections of libraries who agree to provide us with shelf lists; within just a few hours, they can turn up intriguing traces of past readers.

We want to hear from librarians at other universities who are interested in learning more about the Book Traces model and possibly sampling the holdings in your circulating collections. Please contact Prof. Andrew Stauffer or Kristin Jensen to learn more.


Book Traces project assistant Emily Temple

Book Traces project assistant Emily Temple examines volumes pulled from the University of Virginia Alderman Library.