Thanks to social media and a microscope, a librarian at the University of Iowa has been able to uncover the story behind a 4 millimeter by 4 millimeter Bible in the library's microminiature collection.
Based on the cover, staff in the library's Special Collections and University Archives thought it was a Bible, but they didn't know much else because it was far too small to read, according to a blog post by librarian Colleen Theisen on the University of Iowa Libraries website.
Theisen featured the book on the library's social media pages, which in turn prompted conservator Giselle Simon to invite Theisen to use the new microscope in the library's conservation lab.
A careful read under a microscope helped identify the book's publisher as the Toppan Printing Company in Tokyo. After more sleuthing, Theisen discovered the book contained Chapter 1 of Genesis from the King James Version of the Bible. It was part of a two-book set created for the 1965 World Fair, and the tiny book is now catalogued with its larger counterpart, which is a whopping 1 3/8 inches square, according to The Atlantic and the library’s blog.
The smaller book was originally in a case and was likely meant to be worn as a charm, Theisen told The Atlantic.
The tiny Bible is one of 4,000 books in the library's miniature books collection.