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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame Press hosts annual book festival and dirty book sale

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Frs. Edward Malloy and Thomas Blantz spoke about the history of Notre Dame at the “Love Thee Notre Dame” event.


Notre Dame Press concluded its annual book festival and dirty book sale Wednesday. As part of the festival, Notre Dame Press hosted a talk with Frs. Edward Malloy and Thomas Blantz. 

David Juarez, an assistant production editor for Notre Dame Press, said events like this will hopefully help their goal of bringing more attention to the sale. 

“So the dirty book sale has been going on for quite a while on campus and with the revitalization of our team in the last few years we really wanted to amp it up a little bit more and accommodate it with new events,” Juarez said. 

The event received a rebranding as part of the effort to draw more attention to it, he said.

“We rebranded a little bit by calling it the Notre Dame Press Book Festival and Dirty Book Sale," Juarez said. "So we're kind of combining the two elements together.”

Michelle Sybert, the assistant director of Notre Dame Press, explained the history behind the dirty book sale. 

“So it's actually been on campus for decades…But the reason for the name is that the books that were originally being brought were dirty, dusty and slightly damaged,” she said. 

Sybert said the sale is important for students amassing a book collection.

“One of the biggest reasons it is important is that we have an enormous amount of undergraduate and graduate students who come out to build their libraries for their future studies,” she said. 

Notre Dame Press is one of 160 University presses around the world, according to Sybert. The Press publishes books intended to connect scholars on campus with other campuses and readers in general, she said. 

Sybert added the books they publish "are more general interests — books about Notre Dame, creative writing books – but it's really about sharing the ideas that are generated on campus with a broader audience." 

In addition to the 1,600 books for sale, there are also dirty books for sale. 

“Then we also bring our dirty books which means copies we have accumulated a few too many of,” Sybert said. “Often these will mean that we had an author event at one point [where] we brought in a massive amount of copies and we just didn't quite sell them all.”

Dirty books may have minor typos, or in one case, the color get changed on the cover.

“And so that book is a perfectly new book,” she said. 

Sybert said there is nothing wrong with the dirty books, but Notre Dame Press has extra copies due to its high standards. 

“We have some extra copies here because we maintain such high standards for the books that we want to put out and sell for everybody,” Sybert said.

The expansion of the book festival included various talks, such as the "Love Thee Notre Dame" event, which featured former Notre Dame president Fr. Edward Malloy and Fr. Thomas Blantz, both of whom are authors of Notre Dame Press books. 

The event discussed the history of Notre Dame and was moderated by Kathleen Sprows Cummings. Sprows Cummings is a professor of American studies and history at the University. 

Malloy named the two biggest challenges facing the presidency at Note Dame today.

“I think the two hardest things about being president today, especially compared to mine here, are the internet and the litigious nature of American society,” Malloy said

“The fact that the presidency is restricted to Holy Cross priests of the United States province you can debate about that,” Malloy said. “It eliminates women and laypeople. But we only had three presidents in the last 72 years.”

Malloy offered his advice to the next president of Notre Dame.

 “I think you got to be yourself,” Malloy said. “You need to have a vision. You can't have too thin of skin and you need to have good, talented collaborators.”

Malloy added that he’s proud of the future careers many of his administrators went on to hold. 

“I’m proud of the number of people that worked in my administration who went on to be presidents elsewhere and did a great job,” he said. “And I was lucky to have such quality.”