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   ..:: News Releases » 2004  » PR: (11/03) World's Largest Book Arrives at UTEP ::..
   
News Release

Nov. 3, 2004

Contact: Laura Cruz
Writer, University Communications
The University of Texas at El Paso
915/ 747-5977

The World’s Largest Published Book Arrives at UTEP

Weighing 133 pounds and measuring 5-by-7 feet, “Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom” is certified by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest published book.

The book’s creator and MIT professor, Michael Hawley, Ph.D., will be the featured speaker at the UTEP Millennium
Lecture at 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 12 in the Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 116.

University Librarian Patricia A. Phillips

Photo by J.R. Hernandez

University Librarian Patricia A. Phillips uses special gloves to turn
the pages of the 5-by-7 foot book titled “Bhutan: A Visual
Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom.” The book, which
is certified as the world’s largest published book, will be unveiled
Nov. 12 at the library where it will be permanently on display.


The giant book, which will be on display at the University Library, will be unveiled following the lecture.

Charisse Castagnoli, a U.T. Austin Law School graduate and vice president of business development for Layer N Networks in Austin, donated the $10,000 book to UTEP. A portion of the book’s worth is donated to Friendly Planet, a nonprofit company founded by Hawley and dedicated to children’s education in developing countries.

The 114-page book, which requires two people to turn one page, will be listed as UTEP’s one-millionth volume.

“The millionth volume is somewhat of a milestone for a library,” said Patricia A. Phillips, university librarian. “We decided this is very special book so we designated it our millionth volume.”

The book, which has accordion folded pages, will be enclosed in a glass case and sit on top of a special $1,200 platform that was purchased by the Friends of the Library.

“The book is just incredible,” Phillips said. “The photographs are larger than life. It’s amazing how sharp and beautiful the pictures are when they are printed so large. We think people will find it spectacular and it fits perfectly with the Bhutanese altar and tapestry.”

Hawley said the book, which was created from 40,000 photos taken during four MIT field expeditions, was designed uniquely large for various reasons, including a desire to “share a whole art gallery worth of imagery in a relatively compact form.”

“If you framed and hung all of the pictures in the book, you’d need 500 feet of gallery space and $2,000 per frame,” said Hawley, MIT director of special projects. “(It’s meant) to show people a little slice of life in Shangri-La, to let young kids in Bhutan share a corner of their world with other students in other places. (It’s also meant) to raise funds for needy schools and scholars, and it was a work of art that also allowed us to stretch a number of technological barriers.”

Hawley, a Yale University graduate and an MIT professor since1993, said he hopes the book will teach the public that the world is still a big place.

“It is important to continually revisit one’s values about how to live, how you want the communities, towns, friends, families, schools and governance around you to feel,” he said. “Bhutan may be a tough developing country, but there are qualities of life there that are special and endlessly worth cherishing. One can only hope that people elsewhere would feel as blessed.”
   
 

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