Reinberger Children’s Library Center
Room 314, University Library
When you think of children’s picture books, you probably don’t think about scholarly research. But scholars come from all over the world to study the colorful collections and resources of the Reinberger Children’s Library Center (RCLC) at Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science.
Opportunities abound for research into countless subjects in children’s and youth literature. Recent scholars have explored such varied topics as contemporary art, linguistic diversity, homelessness and social justice.
Since its opening in 2003, after receiving a gift from the Reinberger Foundation of Cleveland, the center has been a popular gathering space for conferences, workshops, meetings and classes. Originally called the Reinberger Children’s Room, it was conceived as a “demonstration” children’s public and school library center to train students and practitioners.
Not to be overlooked, however, according to the center’s director, Michelle Baldini, MLIS, is the significant acquisition of rich and diverse materials in children’s literature that has made the Reinberger a meaningful research facility.
In 2008, it expanded to house collections donated by the late Dr. Kenneth and Sylvia Marantz. The Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art has grown to include more than 30,000 picture books from the past 40+ years, as well as posters, original artwork, ephemera and character toys.
Today, the Reinberger boasts a non-circulating collection of more than 50,000 picture books, original picture book art, publisher posters from 1924 on, historical children’s books, movable, pop-up and toy books—and more. (See samples below.)
To encourage scholars to explore these rich collections, the school offers two annual research fellowships of up to $1,500 each.
The vision of the center, Baldini says, is “to be a portal of information and inspiration relating to the world of children through the study of children’s literature and youth services librarianship.”
Learn more at www.kent.edu/slis/reinberger-childrens-library-center. To pursue scholarly research using the center’s collections or to schedule a tour, contact Michelle Baldini at email@example.com, 330-672-0017.
1. 19th-Century Collection Pris and JDub’s Historical Children’s Book Nook contains 19th-century historically significant children’s books.
2. Pop-Up Book, 2010 Paper Blossoms: A Book of Beautiful Bouquets for the Table by paper engineer Ray Marshall is one of more than 600 pop-up and movable books in the Carol G. Davis Pop-Up Collection.
3. Punch and Judy Puppets, circa 1876 Donated by Priscilla Drach, these are the oldest puppets in the Reinberger’s large puppet collection.
4. Artist Donation, 2013 Yuyi Morales, illustrator and author of many award-winning children’s books, spoke at Kent State’s annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Children in 2013; she drew this sketch of a deer at the event.
5. Original Artwork, 1998 This cover illustration for The Horn Book Magazine, by Caldecott-award-winning author and illustrator Chris Raschka, is part of the Wolfenbarger Collection of Original Picturebook Art.
6. Pop-Up and Movable Book, 2011 Encyclopedia Mythologica: Dragons and Monsters, by renowned paper engineers Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda, is a popular book in the pop-up and movable collection. Sabuda gave the keynote address at Kent State’s symposium on children’s movable books in 2014.
7. Beatrix Potter Books and Figurines The Margaret Alexander Beatrix Potter Collection contains all first editions and even pirated books by Beatrix Potter, along with collectible figurines.
8. Marantz Correspondence Dr. Kenneth Marantz (a professor of art at Ohio State University) and his wife, Sylvia (a librarian), reviewed thousands of “picturebooks” (his preferred spelling), which they donated along with letters and cards from publishers, editors, authors and illustrators.
9. Process Book Best-selling children’s author and illustrator Rosemary Wells gave the keynote at Kent State’s 2015 symposium on early childhood literacy. She donated manuscripts, original art and dummies from her 2014 book Stella’s Starliner. Pictured: the dummy she submitted to the publisher (above) and the finished book (below)