The formal and the chatty

The brief and formal blurb

headshot of Werner Sarah Werner is the author of Studying Early Printed Books 1450-1800: A Practical Guide (Wiley 2019) and the companion site EarlyPrintedBooks.com and co-editor of the journal The Papers of the Bibliographical Socieety of America. She has written numerous articles on book history, digital tools, and library outreach, including “Book History and Digital Scholarship” (with Matthew Kirschenbaum) in Book History and “Working Towards a Feminist Printing History” (in Printing History). Dr Werner’s earlier scholarship focused on Shakespeare and modern performance, and her book Shakespeare and Feminist Performance: Ideology on Stage (Routledge 2001) is still taught and cited by scholars. She worked at the Folger Shakespeare Library for nearly a decade as Undergraduate Program Director and as Digital Media Strategist, and is now a consultant working with special collections libraries to encourage teaching and collaboration with students and faculty using rare materials.

The informal yet maybe more informative blurb

Werner's printer's device I often describe myself as an independent librarian—a title I made up to describe my work raising awareness of the value of public and student engagement with special collections libraries. It’s like being an independent scholar, except that instead of focusing on creating scholarship, I’m focused on building resources for use in and with libraries. My book, Studying Early Printed Books 1450-1800: A Practical Guide (Wiley 2019), came out of those interests, and strives to introduce readers not only to how books were made in the hand-press period, but how to find and work with those books today. The companion website, EarlyPrintedBooks.com, is a response to my belief in the value of openly accessible library resources and my desire to create something that could easily draw users in to explore libraries on their own.

I trained as an English professor who worked on Shakespeare and modern theater. My graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania turned into Shakespeare and Feminist Performance: Ideology on Stage (Routledge 2001), a book that is still taught and cited today. After teaching English literature and theater, I found my way to the Folger Shakespeare Library, where I developed a program for undergraduates to study book history at the Library. I was at the Folger for nearly a decade, serving also as Digital Media Strategist, creating and leading the influential library blog The Collation from 2011 to 2015 and managing the overhaul of the Folger website. In those roles, I worked closely with students, librarians, and researchers to create new resources for supporting their work. I am now working on my own to foster collaborative relationships at other institutions and am available for hire leading workshops, brainstorming projects, and meeting other consulting needs.

My current research explores what a feminist approach to bibliography and book history might entail, focusing particularly on descriptive and analytical bibliography. It has led me both to explore the origins of the field of bibliography and 20th- and 21st-century examples of feminist theory and praxis from a range of disciplines, including design theory, gender studies, and pedagogy.

I'm lucky to have had some wonderful students in my classroom, and there's nothing quite like listening to them in their own words about the value of working with rare materials. You can experience that by reading about some George Washington University students and watching a video of them.

More information

You can find more about the work I've done by browsing my brief c.v. or, if you want all the details, by reading the full deal.

If you're interested in working together, or in having me deliver a talk or lead a workshop, you can find out more about what I offer by reading Work with Me.

You can contact me via email (sarah@earlyprintedbooks.com) or find me on many social media platforms as @wynkenhimself.