Books of Affection

Books of Affection is a project developed by Wanessa Cardoso de Sousa, an art historian graduated from Concordia University (see also Canadian Library Architecture).

Books of Affection is an oral project I developed under the supervision of Dr. Cynthia Hammond (Concordia University) and in collaboration with the Atwater Library and Computer Centre (ALCC). This project focuses on the affective relationships between people and books. It explores how books that are mass-produced every year can become unique objects to their owners. The Industrial Revolution allowed the mass production of hundreds of thousands of manufactured goods, including books. So how can a book published in recent times become unique to a person? Most of the time, books can have a meaningful impact on people’s lives because of what the author wrote on its pages. Sometimes, however, a book’s significance for someone can be related to the memories they shared with someone else. Through this project, I explore why the participants’ chosen books are essential to them.

As a member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) at Concordia University, I believe that oral history is a powerful tool for collecting and sharing different people’s stories. The participants in this project are connected by the fact that they are members of the community surrounding the ALCC. Libraries are, of course, key means by which people access books, especially when people are not in a position to purchase books of their own. This project provided the ALCC members with a platform to share their stories of two essential books in their lives, one from the Atwater Library and one from their own collection.

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