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MacArthur to rare book maven

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Terry Belanger, founder of the Rare Book School (RBS) now housed at the University of Virginia, has been named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, one of the 25 winners of the so-called "genius" award that provides $500, 000 in unrestricted grants over five years. The independent, non-profit institute, according to the MacArthur citation, "transcends the limitations of the traditional degree programs" by making its five-day courses available to a broad range of professionals, using original tools and materials. See


Belanger, who established the RBS while teaching at the School of Library Services at Columbia University, will give his money to RBS. "I am simply one of the noisier members of a large group of people who have worked for a very long time to ensure that the future is not deprived of the past, " he said. That task has become more difficult, as digitization of old books proceeds. "We need to work together to get books as physical objects from where they're not wanted to where they are, " Belanger told LJ . "That's where RBS comes in. It tries to train the rare book community to make intelligent decisions about cataloging, acquisition, and retention." (See LJ Talks to, "

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