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​Rare Book Room Features

Take a peek into the unique collections of Phoenix Public Library's Rare Book Room.

Accordions and Carousels

An accordion book, sometimes called a concertina book, is structured by folding one long sheet of paper back and forth or binding smaller sheets together then folding.  The result is a book that can be read and displayed in several fashions.

A carousel book, sometimes called a star book, is another type of folded book with pages layered on top of each other for a multi-dimensional appearance.  When closed, they look like a normal book but can be opened completely so that both covers touch.  They resemble a star from above or a carousel from the side.


Sanctae Hildegardis Circulus sapientiae = Circle of Wisdom​

Photo of Circle of Wisdom bookThis accordion book was created to celebrate St. Hildegard's nine hundredth birthday. The accordion is created by handmade paper strips that lace the sections together. Besides pop-ups, the book also features a CD containing the song lyrics put to music.

Color -- By the Book by Pamela S. Wood

Photo of Color by the Book bookVertical and horizontal lines of hand-painted color strips occupy the pages of this star book. The artist used star binding with a sewn non-adhesive spine, a glued fore-edge, and folded paper spacers in the spine area.

Photo of Domestic Science book

Domestic Science - Pop-Up Icons; Domestic Science Idioms

Julie Chen printed this accordion-folded book in Japanese style so as to open both ways, with eight openings on each side. One side (Icons) contains cut-out paper pop-ups in several openings while the other (Idioms) contains additional accordion-folded leaves with text and illustrations in several openings. The text of this side (Idioms) consists of definitions of terms and phrases based on words with domestic connotations.

Photo of Food bookFood by Donna Sue

This accordion book is formed by a continuous strip of paper with the center cut out of each leaf created by the fold. In this space, there is another accordion-folded strip to which has been sewn a strip illustrated with fruits and vegetables. The book has leather-covered endboards and a handmade box.

Photo of Goat Island JournalGoat Island Journal, 1993 by Schwartzott

A handmade paper slipcase encases this accordion book. It is a limited edition copy that recreates the original journal's art in brilliant color to enhance the theme of seasonal change. Each season features a cut-out with different forms and colors, which creates a three-dimensional effect when the book is opened.

​Le Petit Paris by Pamela S. WoodPhoto of Le Petit Paris

This miniature (2.5 inch) carousel opens to reveal hand drawn scenes of Paris' famous landmarks.  The petite book features a sewn binding and is tied closed with an elegant grosgrain ribbon.

​Oh, Give Me a Home by Alicia McKimPhoto of Oh Give Me a Home

This carousel book opens to swing the back and front covers together, which can then be tied with the string. When open, six sections are each framed by a border of rope, brands, and the words from a line of the song "Home on the Range." Each frame reveals three layers of cut-out color prints of a western scene.

​For more information on making an appointment, tours and the collection, please visit the Rare Book Room page.

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