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First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare: Press Releases

On tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, at the UNLV University Libraries Special Collections on September 1-29, 2016.

Behind the Scenes

Climate Change for Shakespeare’s First Folio Exhibit

A behind-the-scenes look at the Libraries and facilities management teams’ efforts to protect the historic book of the Bard’s works. 

Editor's Note: First Folio will be on display Sept. 1-29 in Special Collections at the UNLV Lied Library. All First Folio events are free. RSVPs for 30-minute self-guided tours of the exhibit now are being accepted. You can get more information, obtain a complete list of First Folio events, and RSVP online.

LAS VEGAS – The humidity is rising in Las Vegas — at least in the Special Collections area of UNLV’s Lied Library. To prepare for First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, a traveling exhibit arriving on campus in September, UNLV’s University Libraries and facilities management teams have been making special preparations to protect the invaluable cultural artifact.

Printed seven years after Shakespeare’s death, the First Folio includes 36 of his plays, including 18 that had never been printed before. Without the First Folio, plays such as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, andAs You Like It might have been lost forever. 

“The climate in Southern Nevada presents some unique challenges for meeting the Folger Shakespeare Library’s requirements to display the folio,” said Michelle Light, director of Special Collections. For example, the humidity in Special Collections had to be raised to more than 30 percent.

“The folio was published in 1623 and is one of the world’s most treasured books, so we need to get conditions just right,” Light said. “Too warm temperatures can speed up deterioration. If the humidity is too low, the paper can get brittle. Fluctuation in humidity can cause the pages to expand and contract, leading to damage. Facilities management has come up with creative solutions to address these issues and make this space ready for the exhibit.”

Facilities management researched several options before purchasing three free-standing humidifiers to use for the project and the UNLV plumbing shop ran dedicated water lines from a nearby storage area into the Special Collections reading room. The humidifiers were strategically placed to provide maximum dispersal of the humidity throughout the open area.

Jeremy Sandoval checks the water purification system in the Lied Library Special Collections in preparation for the Shakespeare First Folio's arrival. The system was installed to maintain humidity levels in Special Collections for First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare. (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Photo Services)The humidifiers are just one step in comprehensive behind-the-scenes work underway prior to the arrival of the rare book for the month-long exhibit. Since UNLV University Libraries was announced as the only Nevada location for the Shakespeare exhibit, facilities management has been collaborating with University Libraries faculty to prepare Special Collections for the exhibit’s strict requirements.

“To ensure we are maintaining the environmental conditions necessary to safely house the folio, we have installed several sensors throughout the Special Collection area,” said Scott Wright, assistant director of Facilities Management. “These sensors collect data on factors such as humidity and temperature that we will then transmit to the Folger Shakespeare Library.”

Since heat accelerates the decay of historical documents, the temperature in Special Collections must be maintained at a relatively cool 69-71 degrees. Facilities management installed a dedicated redundant 5-ton air conditioning unit to back-up the Libraries’ existing HVAC system.

Light, especially direct sunlight, also accelerates the deterioration of archival materials, causing inks to fade and pages to become irreversibly damaged. In addition to blacking out the windows in the area, Facilities Management is installing new lighting to reduce the amount of direct light that will be on the folio from 30 foot-candles to 5 foot-candles. Flash photography in the room is not allowed. 

Armando Campos uses a light meter to check light levels in the Lied Library Special Collections. Light levels will be lowered to 5 foot-candles for the folio. (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Photo Services)“Facilities management has done an exceptional job addressing each of the requirements to prepare Special Collections for the exhibit,” said Light. “Their behind-the-scenes work will make this an exciting opportunity to showcase the University Libraries and Special Collections to the community while celebrating and learning about the legacy of William Shakespeare and his many works.”

Visiting First Folio

More than 7,000 people are expected to visit the exhibit or attend one of the planned First Folio events in September. Reservations now are being accepted for self-guided tours of the exhibit.

University Libraries faculty have planned a number of community events in conjunction with the exhibit, including a sneak preview of the Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s The Bomb-itty of Errors, a hip-hop theatre adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, on Sept. 1 and the lecture Saint-Omer Shakespeare First Folio Goes Viral by leading Shakespeare expert and UNR professor Eric Rasmussen on Sept. 18.

Special Collections also will showcase rare books published during the time of William Shakespeare and display costume drawings and posters for UNLV theatre productions of Shakespeare’s works.

First Folio has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor, and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council, Stuart and Mimi Rose, and other generous donors.

Press Release - June 28, 2016

Contact: Sean Kennedy, University Libraries

sean.kennedy@unlv.edu | 702-895-2235

For Immediate Release  June 28, 2016

UNLV University Libraries to host First Folio Shakespeare exhibit

LAS VEGAS – Southern Nevada will have a rare opportunity to view an original First Folio of the works of William Shakespeare from 1623 when a traveling exhibit arrives at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas University Libraries this September.

“The works of William Shakespeare have shaped our understanding of comedy, tragedy, and drama, and continue to influence modern literature, theater, and cinema,” said Patricia Iannuzzi, dean of UNLV University Libraries. “We have partnered with the Folger Shakespeare Library to offer our constituents an opportunity to view this original collection, learn more about his works, and participate in fun, educational activities celebrating Shakespeare.”

UNLV University Libraries was selected as Nevada’s host site for “First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library,” a national touring exhibit that will be on display in Special Collections from Sept. 1-29. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in association with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring a First Folio of Shakespeare in 2016 to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

The First Folio, printed seven years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616, includes 36 of his plays. Eighteen of those plays had never been printed before. Without the First Folio, plays such as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, and As You Like It might have been lost forever.  

“The UNLV University Libraries is excited that Southern Nevada will be able to experience first-hand the wonder and rareness of the First Folio,” said Michelle Light, director of Special Collections at UNLV University Libraries. “From Shakespeare aficionados to students studying the Bard’s plays for the first time, this exhibit is a unique chance for people in Nevada to see one of the most influential books in history.”

A number of community events are planned throughout September to coincide with the First Folio exhibit. The exhibition will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 1 with an opening event featuring a sneak preview of the Nevada Conservatory Theater’s The Bomb-itty of Errors, a hip-hop theater adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. The free community event will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Goldfield Room at Lied Library.

Additional events include a lecture by leading world expert and University of Nevada, Reno professor Eric Rasmussen on Sept. 18, A Taste of Shakespeare performances by the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada on Sept. 11, a workshop for teachers on Sept. 10, activities for children on Sept. 17, and multiple lectures throughout the month featuring UNLV faculty discussing the history of the First Folio and Shakespeare’s time.

In addition, UNLV University Libraries Special Collections will be open extended hours to offer additional opportunities for people to view the First Folio. The exhibit will be open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The First Folio will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “to be or not to be.” A multi-panel exhibition exploring Shakespeare’s impact, then and now, will be accompanied by digital content and interactive displays.

Reservations for a 30-minute self-guided tour of the exhibit or to attend any of the events can be made online at http://guides.library.unlv.edu/firstfolio. Reservations may also be made in person at Special Collections at the Lied Library. All events are free, but RSVPs are requested.

First Folio! has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council, Stuart and Mimi Rose, and other generous donors.

For more information and a complete list of First Folio events at UNLV University Libraries, visit http://guides.library.unlv.edu/firstfolio.

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Press Release - April 13, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 13, 2016                          

Mark Your Calendar:

UNLV University Libraries to Exhibit Shakespeare First Folio in September 2016

National tour from Folger Shakespeare Library in commemoration
of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death

(Las Vegas, NV)— The University of Nevada, Las Vegas University Libraries was recently selected as Nevada’s host site for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, a national traveling exhibition of the Shakespeare First Folio, one of the world’s most treasured books. The First Folio exhibition will be open to the public September 1-29, 2016.

“The UNLV University Libraries is excited that Southern Nevada will be able to experience first-hand the wonder and rareness of the First Folio,” said Michelle Light, Director of Special Collections. “From Shakespeare aficionados to students studying the Bard’s plays for the first time, this exhibit is a rare opportunity for people in Nevada to see one of the most influential books in history.”

The Folger Shakespeare Library, in association with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring a First Folio of Shakespeare in 2016 to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, beginning in January 2016. A full list of host sites and tour dates is available at www.folger.edu.

The First Folio will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “to be or not to be.” A multi-panel exhibition exploring Shakespeare’s impact, then and now, will be accompanied by digital content and interactive activities.

UNLV University Libraries is currently planning several programs to coincide with the arrival of Shakespeare’s First Folio, including an opening reception, scholarly lectures, and workshops for teachers, students, and families.  

The First Folio is the first complete collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623 seven years after his death. Compiled by two of Shakespeare’s fellow actors, it preserves 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. Without it, we would not have 18 of those plays, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, and Antony and Cleopatra. Thanks to the First Folio, generations have experienced Shakespeare’s lasting influence on language, culture, theater, music, education, and more. There are 233 known copies in the world today, with 82 copies held by the Folger Shakespeare Library.

“At the Folger Shakespeare Library, we’re looking forward to taking the books out of our vaults in 2016 and on the road,” said Michael Witmore, Director. “We’re excited to see the many different ways that communities across the country will be celebrating Shakespeare—in performances, poetry slams, lectures, and more.”

First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council, and other generous donors.

About UNLV University Libraries

In support of UNLV’s mission and shared values, the UNLV University Libraries contribute to and support learners as they discover, access, and use information effectively for academic success, research, and lifelong learning. The UNLV University Libraries define the new academic research library—bringing people and information together in innovative ways. Learn more at www.library.unlv.edu.


About Folger Shakespeare Library
Folger Shakespeare Library is the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the ultimate resource for exploring Shakespeare and his world. The Folger welcomes millions of visitors online and in person. We provide unparalleled access to a huge array of resources, from original sources to modern interpretations. With the Folger, you can experience the power of performance, the wonder of exhibitions, and the excitement of pathbreaking research. We offer the opportunity to see and even work with early modern sources, driving discovery and transforming education for students of all ages. Shakespeare belongs to you. His world is vast. Come explore. Join us online, on the road, or in Washington, DC. Learn more at www.folger.edu  

About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution and national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012. CMC is one of only 16 museums in the nation with both of these honors, making it a unique asset and a vital community resource. Union Terminal has been voted the nation's 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and Cincinnati History Library & Archives. Recognized by Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, CMC welcomes more than one million visitors annually. For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives. Additional information can be found at www.ala.org/programming

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov

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About the Tour

First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, is a national traveling exhibition organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, and produced in association with the American Library Association and the Cincinnati Museum Center. First Folio! has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, the British Council, Stuart and Mimi Rose, and other generous donors. 

© University of Nevada Las Vegas
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