By: Mark Mattson and Christina Riehman-Murphy
The cakes and cookies are gone, the pie tins are cleaned, and the hashtags are counted. It was extremely close, but Penn State Libraries emerged the winner of the inaugural Great Rare Books Bake Off!
A collaborative project between the PSU Libraries and our international sister-library Monash University Library in Melbourne, Australia, the Great Rare Books Bake Off aimed to engage our collective communities with some of the tastier materials from the special collections of the two institutions. As a chance for cultural exchange, and a bit of fun during a time of limited travel and social interaction; and to raise awareness of the partnership between the two universities, the project encouraged individuals to try to bake one of the historic Australian or American recipes from our collections and post the results to social media. While PSU came out just ahead in submissions, both libraries consider the event a great success with over 160 individual submissions tallied between Monash and PSU. Given the fantastic engagement of the inaugural event, the partners are exploring the possibility of making the Bake Off an annual affair.
To learn more about the event visit the event webpage and to see what people baked, visit Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and search for #BakePennState and #BakeMonash.
A huge shout out goes out to Christina Riehman-Murphy, the overall organizer of the event, as well as Jennifer Meehan, Clara Drummond, Maggie Welch, Marissa Nicosia, Mark Mattson, Heather Froehlich, Lillian Hansberry, Amanda Peters, Heidi Moyer, Barbara Lessig, Jennifer Cifelli, Bev Molnar, and Christopher Blaska for all of their help putting this together. And a big thank you to all of you who participated in the contest and to our colleagues at Monash for their willingness to give this a go!