Adopt a Rare Book

Adopt a Rare Book

In 2017, St Mark’s College launched the Adopt a Rare Book program – an innovation to help restore and preserve the College’s outstanding collection of rare and valuable books.

Through the remarkable generosity of Old Collegians and College friends over the years (and some of its own careful purchasing), St Mark’s has built a library replete with rare and wonderful works in many diverse fields – history, law, art, science, natural history, theology, literature, Australiana and more.

Some of these important works are now over 200 years old and in need of some careful restoration, to ensure their preservation for generations to come.

St Mark’s has always valued the extraordinary contributions of its many donors. The Rare Book Restoration Project offers an opportunity for all the bibliophiles and antiquarians amongst our many friends to play a special part in preserving our valuable rare book collection.

How can I contribute?

There are three options to contribute to this important project:

  • Adopt a Rare Book
    Select a particular book from our Restoration List and donate the indicative restoration price (and contribute further, if you choose, if additional restoration is required) – bringing this book back to condition is thanks to you!
  • Rare Book Benefactor
    Select a particular book, or books, from the Restoration List and donate an amount of your choosing towards its/their restoration – put your money where your heart is!
  • Rare Book Donor
    Donate any amount you wish to the rare book restoration fund, and the Master and Librarian will apply the funds as priorities and needs demand, as the restoration project continues – spread the wealth!

If you know of a rare book not on the Restoration List for which you would like to donate, please contact the Librarian, Pirjo Rayner.

What restoration work is being done?

Initially, 10 of our most rare and valuable books will be restored – see the full list of book included in the ‘Adopt a Rare Book’ program here. This is the first priority for the project.

The most recent of these works (an annotated Australian Constitution from 1901) is 116 years old, while the oldest was printed in the early 1700s!

Most of the volumes on the initial restoration list are over 200 years old and would be very difficult, if not impossible, to replace.

Of course, it is important to preserve the condition of the books as much as possible, as that is part of their history and value. With the years, though, pages have become speckled, bindings have deteriorated, and in some cases covers or pages have separated from the book spines. All of these things can be remedied, with the right expertise.

Anthony Zammit Book Restoration has been chosen to undertake this important work. Anthony is a local expert in the field, with decades of experience in rare book restoration.

As funds become available and the project continues, more of our rare and valuable books will be restored to prime condition.

Can I keep up to date with the work being done?

Yes! Updates showing the progress of the restoration work will be available on the College website.

Adopt a Rare Book donors and Rare Book Benefactors will also receive personal email updates on the restoration of their chosen titles.

We look forward to inviting all project donors to a special function to mark the restoration of our first 10 priority books, when completed.

Project Launch

The Rare Book Restoration Project was launched at Sundowner 2017 at St Mark’s College on 30 November 2017. Special guest Cheryl Hoskins, Rare Book Librarian at the University of Adelaide’s Barr-Smith Library, spoke at the launch.

This special event also marked three years of service of the East Wing of the College. Officially opened in March 2015, the East Wing houses the Ian and Pamela Wall Academic Centre, The Simpson Tutorial Rooms and the Allister McLeod Gymnasium, along with 32 student rooms and a 98-space multi-level car park. Construction was made possible by the generous donations of many College benefactors and donors – thank you all.

Books for restoration (click on title for image showing the current state of the book).