On my first day as an intern at Oak Knoll, I wasn’t so sure about working in a 200-year-old building for a company that published “Books about Books”—a slogan, however catchy, which seemed to indicate academic droning.
Through these three months of interning, my first impressions have proved wrong: the books are interesting and working in this beautiful building was one of my favorite parts of the job.
And as my time here draws to a close, I must conclude that my internship was definitely not boring; it was challenging, interesting, and even fun. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned through this experience. I’m leaving here with invaluable skills, more than I learned in any college class, about editing, proofreading, public relations, and the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Things that would have taken me hours before Oak Knoll, like writing and formatting a press release, I can now do with my eyes closed. Even updating a webpage doesn’t seem half as scary as it did before.
Through the valuable feedback from Laura, James, and Danielle, I also learned a great deal about my own strengths and weaknesses—something that will serve me well as I prepare to enter the real world.
There are many things I will miss about working here. The beautiful old building, the comfortable routine that I’ve established, my little desk, but most of all I’ll miss the people.
I want to thank the other Oak Knollers for everything they have done for me. Thank you for teaching me awesome tricks with InDesign, for giving me constructive feedback that helped me grow as an editor and writer, and for being so understanding when I made mistakes. But most of all I would like to thank you all for making me feel like a part of the Oak Knoll family. I will truly miss this special group of people.
It’s funny that people always think an English degree will get you nowhere in life. As an English major, I have always felt that my career options were overwhelmingly broad. As several of my professors have said, “Everyone needs someone who can write well.” Through my studies as an English major in the University of Delaware’s professional writing concentration, I have met writing professionals from many different fields—technical writing, editing, blogging, journalism— all of whom do very different things day-to-day.
One of the most appealing paths to me has always been publishing. In the media portrayals I’ve seen, a publisher is like a god, deciding which books live or die—and who wouldn’t want to be a god? Before I came to Oak Knoll, I also took a publishing class where I learned that there is a lot that goes into editing and publishing a book, magazine, or other publication.
Through my internship here, I hope to learn as much as possible about editing and publishing and to determine whether or not I am suited to a career in either of these fields. I also want to practice my skills in editing and proofreading as well as to enhance my knowledge of InDesign, Photoshop, and other programs.
So far, I’ve enjoyed applying my editing skills to Oak Knoll’s manuscripts and catalogues. It’s exciting to have the chance to work with material that’s going to be published into a real book that people will actually buy and read. It’s great to feel you have helped to create something so concrete.
Hopefully I prove myself useful to the kind folks here at Oak Knoll, who have given me this wonderful opportunity.
I can’t believe this semester has flown by so quickly. It feels like just yesterday that I was frantically looking up the directions from the University of Delaware to Oak Knoll for my interview, and now I have done that drive twice a week for about three months.
I have become used to my routine of coming to Oak Knoll on Mondays and Wednesdays and being greeted by Laura with a list of tasks. I have become used to Danielle approaching me with flyers to edit, to James leaving me a stack of books to photograph, and to everybody else who has given me advice and support.
What once seemed scary to me, like editing a picture in Photoshop or creating a flyer in InDesign, is now simple, easy, and fun. A long manuscript may still be daunting, but I can now approach it with confidence because I know that I am capable of completing the assignment. I have even completed the most frightening task of all: creating a page of a website. I’ve learned about Adobe Dreamweaver at UD and never felt comfortable with the coding. When I was asked to make a website for St. Paul’s Bibliographies, I was eager to use the skills I learned in class to accomplish a task on the job.
While learning the ins and outs of book publishing, I learned as much about myself as I did about Oak Knoll. I have always recognized my passion for writing, so working in editorial seemed like the obvious choice. However, after creating a flyer and completing some marketing research, I realized that I also enjoy the sales and marketing aspect. I will certainly not close the door on editorial, but I now realize that I have more than one door open for me.
I want to thank everybody at Oak Knoll who has made this internship valuable and fun by assisting me with my assignments, being friendly, and trusting me with tasks other than fetching coffee and filing papers. I am sad to leave Oak Knoll , but happy to have had this fulfilling experience. My ultimate goal is to work in book publishing at home in New York, and I will always credit Oak Knoll for starting my career.
Bob recently gave a presentation at the University of Delaware titled “The Gift that Keeps Giving: Tales of Collectors and Their Library Beneficiaries in America.” The speech covered many collectors including A. Edward Newton, Thomas Winthrop Streeter, Arnold Leibowitz, Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr., Thomas J. Wise, and more. Bob also discussed the responsibilities required by the collector in choosing a library to support his or her gift and the responsibilities of the library in encouraging collectors. Below are some photographs taken from the event, given to us by Susan Brynteson from the University of Delaware. Thanks, Susan!
A few weeks ago, University of Delaware student Julie Becker began her college internship here at Oak Knoll. She has written a blog post about her first experiences in the publishing world.
I have to admit, I was pretty nervous on my first drive to Oak Knoll. I’ve turned thousands of pages full of mystery, suspense, and horror, but that was all inside of a book. Now, everything I’m doing here is non-fiction; the characters are real people, my assignments affect the entire company, and I won’t find out the ending until December.
However, I am confident that my time here will be rewarding and enlightening. I’ve been spending my first week proofreading, and I’m getting more out of it than I expected. Yes, I’m improving my editing skills, but I’m also learning about new genres. I’ve read best sellers, assigned reading for class, romance and mystery novels, and a few in between, but I can’t say that I’ve read much about the Grolier Club. Actually, I knew nothing about the Grolier club until I proofread a catalogue about books on the topic. I look forward to learning about many more books before I leave this internship.
I’m eager to create my own catalogues full of books using InDesign. As a University of Delaware senior majoring in English Professional Writing, I’ve been learning about Adobe programs in my classes, but have yet to put my knowledge to practical use. Oak Knoll will allow me to do so while also providing me with physical evidence of my work.
Oak Knoll has already shown me a glimpse of the professional world, and more specifically the publishing world, and I am already enjoying it all. I look forward to proving myself as a valuable asset and learning about book publishing.
I would like to thank everybody at Oak Knoll for this opportunity, and I look forward to all of the excitement that will follow over the coming months!
On Wednesday, October 26 at 4:30pm, Bob will give a presentation titled “The Gift that Keeps Giving: Tales of Collectors and Their Library Beneficiaries in America,” at the Reserve Room of the Morris Library at the University of Delaware. The presentation will be held in conjunction with their exhibition, “A Decade of Donors 2000-2010.”
Bob’s speech will highlight books, letters, manuscripts, photographs, printed ephemera, artwork, and other items that have been donated to Special Collections over the past ten years, as well as discuss some serious and not so serious tales of collectors and their gifts to libraries. The UDaily wrote an article about his upcoming speech including a brief biography of Bob and Oak Knoll Books and Press. Click here to read the article
Bob recently gave a presentation at The Grolier Club titled, “Good News! The Book is Dead.” While this title sounds dreary, his speech presented a very positive outlook on the future of books. With this topic being on our minds here at Oak Knoll, we began sharing our thoughts of how we think books will change in the future. Read to see what Cara, an Oak Knoll intern from the University of Delaware thinks about the future of the book.
Click. Delete. The book is dead. One key stroke is all it takes to erase an entire industry and culture. Or is it? Can the book ever truly be stripped from our hands and replaced with fluorescent screens? Are we forever finished flipping the page and instead content with scrolling down? As a 21 year old student, a girl caught between my childhood of renting dusty library books and my present life of MP3 players and GPS cell phones, I don’t think we are quite ready to close that chapter.
I’ve heard the stories, read the articles, and watched the news. I know all about what people are saying. However, I’ve also talked to students, the main advertising market for those oh-so-fabulous e-books, portable Kindles, and iPads. Although every kid likes a new toy, they do grow tired of its plastic exterior and over-processed quality. They eventually always return to their old favorite friend, that tattered stuffed animal or beaten-up doll. So it is with e-books and actual books. Yes, we are fascinated with these new gadgets, but I know that we will return to what is familiar and friendly.
This does not mean that things aren’t changing, because they are. Publishers will have to discover new ways to keep current by marketing themselves with the ever-moving electronic age. However, I know that there are still people out there, myself included, that will always prefer the hard copy to the digital page.
Two new students from the University of Delaware are interning at Oak Knoll. Here are their first blog entries. Hope you enjoy getting to know them!
I grew up in a world of books. I’ve ridden a raft with Huck and Finn, pined after Mr. Darcy with Elizabeth Bennet, conquered Lord Voldemort with Harry Potter, and stood on a cliff with Holden Caulfield. My life has been filled with characters, both fictional and non-fictional, and as I enter my spring semester of my junior year, I have met even more at Oak Knoll Books & Press.
As both an English and Communications major at the University of Delaware, I have searched for a career experience that could give me more insight into the stories and books that I have grown to cherish. Even though it has only been a few days since I have started my internship, Oak Knoll has already opened my eyes to what it really takes to put a book together. From new and scary words like “frontispiece” and “colophon,” to more familiar ones such as “binding” and “title page,” my publishing vocabulary and expertise has grown immensely. I hope to learn even more about the structure and marketing of books as the semester goes on, and I know the people at Oak Knoll will fulfill their promise.
Just like in any other story I have read since childhood, I have embarked on a journey with the characters at Oak Knoll. I am looking forward to the beginning chapters of getting to know everyone, the rising action of attempting a difficult task, the climax of having accomplished something important, and the ultimate final chapter when I will leave Oak Knoll with a newfound knowledge and appreciation for the book itself, and not just the story it holds. Thank you to all my fellow characters at Oak Knoll Books & Press! I know this will be an exciting adventure.
And so begins another new chapter…
A new leaf has turned at Oak Knoll, and as 50% of the fresh meat interning here this semester, it’s been a blast getting to know the historic Opera House and its hardworking inhabitants.
What I find most valuable about my time here is that even as a newbie intern, I’ve already had the opportunity to take part in several key parts of the publishing process: write, read, revise, design, discuss, distribute. I’m about 180 pages into editing my first manuscript and have helped catalogue books whose values most likely exceed my own. Cheers.
As a graduating senior, an internship with Oak Knoll couldn’t come at a better time. Every day, I am surrounded by relics of a time gone by as I walk through the endless shelves of books, my footsteps echoing much as they would in a museum.
Oak Knoll is a company whose employees provide great company as I get my first glimpse at life as a publisher. Here’s to a great first month and many more!
Last night, I had the privilege of attending a celebration of the publication of Gerald Cloud’s John Rodker’s Ovid Press at the Grolier Club in New York City. It was an enjoyable evening of book talk, anecdotes, and of course, wine! Gerald shared how he chose Rodker as the topic of his dissertation, a great story that we hope he will share on this blog sometime soon.
Gerald also signed some copies of his book at the event, and three signed copies are still available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested in purchasing one, please email email@example.com.
- Laura Williams, Publishing Director
The beginning of the semester led me to Oak Knoll and now the end has come to sweep me away. As I write this blog post, I’m only two days away from my last day at Oak Knoll and my last day of classes, a month away from the University of Delaware Winter Commencement, and a month and a day away from moving across the country.
While I’m in the middle of preparing for finals, the holidays, graduation, and rushing to pack my entire life into a few boxes, don’t think for a second that I will forget about everyone at Oak Knoll. You all have made my first workplace experience a pleasure. Thank you for being so welcoming and providing me with experience in editing, InDesign, Photoshop, and so many of the useful skills I will need as a professional writer. Thanks to you, I now have confidence in my Tacoma, Washington job hunt.
I wrote in my first blog post, “I am sure Oak Knoll has a great deal of pleasant surprises and learning experiences in store for me, and I am sure that I will take in and come to love every single one,” and it’s no surprise that Oak Knoll did not let me down.
Thank you again, and I wish the very best for Oak Knoll, its wonderful employees, and inspiring book collection.