Play by Design exhibit opens at Bentley Rare Book Gallery

Attendees were invited to participate in a crowdsourced book, "Cats Big Day"

"Friends of the Bentley" created to help fund new museumKENNESAW, Ga. (April 22, 2016)…

Georgia (Apr 22, 2016)"Friends of the Bentley" created to help fund new museum

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 22, 2016)— Bentley Rare Book Gallery Curator Emeritus Bob Williams remembers well the day he met “Babar the Little Elephant.” He was seven years old, the sun was shining through the windows of his elementary school library and he was sitting in a little red chair at a little red table.

Williams shared those memories as part of the opening reception April 21, for “Play by Design: The World of Children’s Books,” the newest interactive exhibition of the Bentley Rare Book Gallery at Kennesaw State University. He also performed a live reading of “Babar’s Museum of Art,” accompanied by music from the Kazanetti String Quartet.

“All of us have stories and books from our childhood that we hold dear to our hearts,” Williams said.

The exhibit, which runs through Dec. 16, explores the design, history and imagination of childhood books.

“With this exhibit, we hope to help people think about children’s books in a different way,” said Julia Skinner, rare books curator. “This exhibit looks at different elements of children’s books like the illustrations and typography, outside the story.”

The event featured a raffle, an opportunity for guests to participate in the making of a crowdsourced children’s book, “Cat’s Big Day,” and a book drive for Big Shanty Intermediate School’s Media Center.

“We’ve been thinking of this idea for over six years, and I’m happy we can finally share it with you,” said Tamara Livingston, executive director of Museums, Archives and Rare Books. “I think everyone of us has a favorite book from the past that we carry with us into the future.”

In addition to the opening of the exhibition, organizers announced the creation of the “Friends of the Bentley” program to support the rare book gallery, and the creation of the Bentley Museum opening in spring 2017.

By Jennifer Hafer

Photo: Jennifer Hafer


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit