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A trip to ‘Oz’ in downtown Library’s Rare Book Room

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library has launched its latest exhibit in the Rare Book Room and Ring of Knowledge. The Wonderful Wizardy of Baum features 14 first editions of the L. Frank Baum collection, including The Wizard of Oz. WBFO's Eileen Buckley had a chance to be one of the first members of the media to review the exhibit and learn about a local connection to one of his earlier books.

You can follow yellow strips of tape along the floor of the downtown public library. It leads you to the Rare Book Room and directly to the Baum book collection. Inside you will find glass cases containing many of the writer's works.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Wicked Witch legs painted on the floor outside the Rare Book Room where the Baum exhibit is on display.

"It's a real honor to be albe to bring these out and share them with the public," explains Amy Pickard, a rare book curator at the downtown library..

The library has the entire canon of Baum's works on display. It had a few of the books, then worked to acquire the rest.  The first edition of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz  -- created in 1900 -- was already in the local collection, originally purchased by the downtown library. 

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, original 1900 edition.

"It's kind of rare to have the whole canon -- beginning with the Wonderful Wizard of Oz," said Pickard.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Amy Pickard is a rare book curator.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz musical was on Broadway in 1903, but unlike the 1939 movie there was no wicked witch.  Outside the Rare book room stands a life-size Wicked Witch, which even speaks.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Life-like, Wicked Witch stands outside the Rare Book Room.

The exhibit includes plenty of the pop culture surrounding the 1939 movie, which will mark its 75th anniversary next year.

Patrons can just click their heels three times and find there's no place like the rare book room.