Ahh, the University of Delaware, my ol’ alma mater. Though I’ve maintained a relationship with UD through Oak Knoll’s connection to the Morris Library, I never thought that I would be back there, standing up in front of a class to give a speech.
Stella Sudekum, a business student, had asked my father if he would be interested in speaking to her Entrepreneurial class about starting and running his own business. He had a schedule conflict and asked if I wanted to give the talk instead. Since elementary school, I have always had a fear of public speaking. It wasn’t a ‘if I get up in front of a class I’ll hyperventilate’ feeling, but a fear nonetheless. That is why it was surprising when I said yes. Was it my subconscious wanting to overcome the fear of public speaking? Even after the talk, I still don’t know, however I’m still glad that I did it.
Now that I was excited to do it, it came time to prepare for zero hour. Practicing in front of a mirror is the traditional method of preparing for a speech, however I felt walking up and down the hallway was much more helpful. I only had a couple of weeks and I wanted to make sure I didn’t cut any corners in getting myself ready. It was through practice that I became comfortable with what I was going to be talking about.
When the day finally came, I parked my car and headed over to Gore Hall (where I had many classes myself). The class had two speakers that day, and luckily (or unluckily for my nerves) I was the second to go. What I thought that was going to be Rob Fleck fumbling over his words actually turned into a very detailed, organized, and energetic presentation about the history of Oak Knoll and where I was going to take it in the future. The presentation started off with my father’s education and the start of Oak Knoll Books & Press. The second half of the presentation focused on the exciting part: where I wanted to take the business in the future. Obviously we are in a digital age, and to focus on how to sell physical books (not ebooks, yet!) is a challenge in today’s world. However, I feel that there will always be a need for a physical book. To my surprise, I received many insightful questions regarding bookselling, publishing, Oak Knoll Fest and how to print books by hand.
Overall, it was an extremely gratifying experience and it seemed to spark an interest in bookselling among the students in the class. Perhaps some of them in the audience will join the ABAA someday!
Here’s a video of the presentation. (Apologies in advance for the sound quality, especially at the very beginning. It gets better!)
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 is with mixed emotions that I announce this Friday will be my last day at Oak Knoll Books and Press. I am sad to be leaving a group of people that has made this job a wonderful beginning for me, but I am also very excited to be soon moving to a new city and pursuing a new avenue in my career.
With just over two years at Oak Knoll under my belt, I can still remember my first day—the smell of books, the new faces, the curiosity as to how I would like my new job, the wonder of how I would remember all the titles and authors and all the other small details that would be required for my job. Many thoughts were flowing through my mind, and while it’s normal to be nervous on your first day at a new position, I distinctly remember everyone at Oak Knoll being so friendly and welcoming that I immediately felt at home at my new job.
I have certainly learned a lot in my time as Publishing and Marketing Assistant, and I cannot thank everyone at Oak Knoll enough for the experience, skills, guidance, and knowledge they have provided me. This bookshop will always hold a very special place in my heart, and I wish the best of luck to everyone, especially James who will be taking over my position. I know he will do a great job.
To all the authors, customers, journals, booksellers, and others I have worked with during my time at Oak Knoll, I have enjoyed getting to know you, and you have also made my experience at Oak Knoll enjoyable.
Well, my time here at Oak Knoll has been enjoyable. And I’m sure it will continue to be after I take on the mantle of Publishing and Marketing Assistant. I feel like I learned so much about the book world in my previous position, but I know there’s still so much to learn.
Obviously, since I’m starting in this new position, it means saying goodbye to Danielle. Word from those that have been here at Oak Knoll for a while is that she’s one of the best Publishing and Marketing Assistants to come through. I hope I can live up to that. The two of us will certainly be working to create as smooth a transition as possible.
I’m never really sure how to end these things, so I’ll finish with this. While it isn’t quite what I thought my mathematics degree would lead to, I’m glad this is how things have turned out for me so far.
The beautiful and historic town of New Castle (also the home of Oak Knoll) was featured yesterday in the travel section of The Washington Post’s online news. Audrey Hoffer, a freelance writer in Washington, wrote an article about the buildings, scenery, smells, and homes all located in the small town of New Castle. As Hoffer’s day in the town was ending, a trip to Oak Knoll was in order to check out our selection of books and revel in the grandeur of our building that was once an Opera House.
“I’m suffused with a sudden sense of pride and nostalgia. I’d come to New Castle looking for a taste of pure Americana. And sure enough, I’d found it.”–A.H.
Click here to read the article.
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.
It’s not too early to mark your calendars for October 5 through 7 for Oak Knoll Fest XVII. Covering various aspects of the fine book in the 21st century, the fest will consist of fine press printer exhibitions, a special symposium, and educational talks by Jerry Kelly and Carol Grossman. It’s sure to be a great time, so we hope you are able to join us!
Registration will open soon. Continue to stay tuned for more information.
Check out some recent reviews of publications from Oak Knoll!
A massive, near definitive resource that goes places I have never traveled with any other bibliography. Grissom’s scholarship is breathtaking. Oak Knoll Press has touted it as ‘sure to be the definitive resource for Hemingway collectors, scholars and libraries for years to come,’ and I see no reason why it won’t.”– Craig Stark, BookThink
He has been scrupulous in identifying previous omissions and he has corrected the errors of earlier bibliographers. This exemplary study now stands as a solid foundation for future Hemingway scholarship. That it will soon be superseded is difficult to imagine. One last observation: while this title’s price may appear daunting, it has been my experience that making use of reference volume just once often justifies its purchase. I have my copy. Get yours.” –Ralph Sipper, ABAA
A remarkable collection that successfully combines scholarly articles, an exhibition catalogue, and a photographic essay within its covers. The images in the book reinforce the value of using material culture to understand the historical past, and they give life to the subjects discussed in the essays. Overall, this book is a “must have” for those interested in the educational, social, and cultural history of early America.”–Keith Pacholl, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Fitzgerald’s descriptions for each entry are extraordinarily detailed. The entries are models of technique for twentieth century books. The eight pages of color plates are especially welcome and help to capture some of the charm of the books themselves, many of which were attractively designed and printed. In short, Series Americana, exhaustively researched and painstakingly written, is an essential tool for all research libraries and will provide ample rewards for the librarian, the collector, and the student of American publishing history.”–Russell L. Martin III, SHARP News
It will, I am sure, become a collector’s item in its own right for it is a handsome volume, well printed in a pleasing font on cream-coloured paper with each entry well set out. The bibliographic content of each entry is meticulous and will be of great service to everyone whose research involves cookbooks. At the back are lists of bibliographical reference works, libraries, and background literature. Four indices, arranged under names, chronology, and geography, cover all the ways one might want to use the book.”–Malcolm Thick, Petits Propos Culinaires
This volume is unquestionably a valuable resource. The book is extremely well typeset and the use of a grey rule admirably breaks up descriptions. There are also thirteen full-page colour and two full-page black and white illustrations and a magnificent dust-jacket.” –Philip W. Errington, Book Collector