*** byu special collections ***

1:32 PM

Harold and I are pretty good friends. I haven't visited him that much this semester, but come finals week we'll be hanging out 'till morning together.

However, deep in the underbelly of the Harold B. Lee Library, far beneath the area where many students study, nap, and socialize, a wing of hidden gems can be found. BYU Special Collections is, seriously, the coolest place ever. I had the opportunity to do a feature story in Special Collections for my Media Writing class earlier in the semester. (I was hooked once they mentioned the 4 Academy Awards they had in their special vaults). It is the home of the LARGEST ancient artifacts collection in the Intermountain West hosting 350,000 books and over 1 million photographs.

"It's a place where you can share discovery," Russell Taylor, head curator, explained to me.

People go there with a purpose, it's one of the few special collections libraries that is available to the general public. During my (small) research, I heard many emotional stories of people who found a document or a photo of their own ancestor.

Anyway, when my journalism professor assigned us to visit the Special Collections exhibit of the 400th anniversary for the King James Bible, I jumped at the opportunity. The exhibit is small, it takes all of five minutes to walk through, but it is really powerful. On display are several different translations of the bible, some with ornate drawings and letterings. The type is difficult to read and the spelling is outdated. It's more than a religious text, it's a piece of art history.

They have a King James Bible in the center of the exhibit. A sign explained that it was printed in large format because it was designed to be read aloud in churches. Indeed, it was easier to read, yet the pages were still delicate and the type face was still beautiful (not that you could touch it).

It was really cool to read and learn more about the coming of one of the most influential English texts in our history. As a Mormon, I think we could all benefit to learn more about a text we sometimes neglect alongside the Book of Mormon, but is just as important.

Visiting this exhibit, as well as the time I spent in Special Collections earlier this year, reminds me of the important concept of lifelong learning. People who have long since graduated from college are still visiting Special Collections to do research and learn. I hope to follow in that same example.

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