Arts and Entertainment

Library U series looks at collecting, 'the unruly passion'

Herb and Dorothy Vogel are the topic at the second session of the Bainbridge Public Library
Herb and Dorothy Vogel are the topic at the second session of the Bainbridge Public Library's Library U series, 'Collecting: The Unruly Passion.'
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Public Library

Library U at the Bainbridge Public Library will present "Collecting: The Unruly Passion," a free, three-part course on collecting books and fine art in May.

The series will be presented from 10 to 11:30 a.m. May 17, 24 and 31 at the library.

People pursue collecting for a variety of reasons. Psychologists theorize it has to do with attachment and safety objects.

For many, it’s a way of preserving memories or creating a beautiful and interesting environment. For others, it’s the thrill of the hunt – of acquiring that one item coveted by all other collectors. Or it could be sparked by innate human curiosity. Collectors themselves thrive on the intellectual fulfillment and constant learning that building a collection provides.

Whatever the reasons, most experts agree that preserving objects such as artistic and historical items through collecting eventually benefits the public good, especially if the objects are loaned or given to museums for public admiration and edification.

And when does something become a collection? In the end, it’s when you start calling yourself “a collector.”

Library U will offer the community a peek into the worlds of rare books and fine art collecting on three Saturday mornings in May:

May 17: Antiquarian Book Collecting. Bob Fortner, with his wife, Nancy, for many years owned Fortner’s Books, first in downtown Winslow and then at their home at Sweetlife Farm. He will explain what makes an antiquarian book valuable, how to find rare books, and how to care for your collection.

May 24: Herb & Dorothy. He was a postal clerk. She was a librarian. With their modest means, the couple managed to build, in their tiny New York City apartment, one of the most important contemporary art collections in history. In this 2008 award-winning documentary, meet Herb and Dorothy Vogel, whose shared passion and discipline have defied stereotypes and redefined what it means to be an art collector.

May 31: Fine Art Collecting. Erin Fossum, a Seattle-based art appraiser and art history scholar, will talk about collecting fine and decorative art, caring for your collection, and the appraisal process.

Although Library U courses are free (with donations appreciated), space is limited and preregistration required. Participants are encouraged to attend all three classes.

To register, send an email to, telephone the Bainbridge Library at 206-842-4162, or drop by the library’s information desk. Include your name, phone number, and email address (if available) with your registration.

Library U is a new program at the Bainbridge Public Library that offers a variety of free lifelong learning opportunities throughout the year. More information can be found at


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