Are you one of those people who have always been intrigued by the idea of collecting old and rare books but who doesn't know enough about such things to even know where to start? Are you someone who finds the career of antiquarian bookseller intriguing but mysterious? Are you someone who really loves books and just wants to know more about them?
Yes? I, too, was, until a few years ago, a person just like you. I've often lamented the fact that there was no major in college for antiquarian books. Sure, there's the much more general and all encompassing "English" major, but other than teaching one to appreciate and analyze literature and how to write well, it really doesn't do the trick for those of us who love the smell of leather bindings or who want to know about how paper is made and what printing processes were used in the 18th century.
I am a firm subscriber to the belief that it's never too late to learn. And, as my endeavor to become an antiquarian bookseller proves, indeed it's not. Below are links to various bookish educational programs for all levels of bibliophile, from beginning to experienced:
Do you wish to know about the defining characteristics of individual photographic processes? Being able to identifying such process can help in dating certain items. Here's a workshop offered by Gawain Weaver.
Gawain Weaver provides, "conservation treatment and consulting services to museums, galleries, collectors, historical societies, libraries, and individuals. Our services range from the treatment of individual fine art prints, to the care of large print and negative collections.
Looking to travel somewhere in addition to learning about books? Then try the London Rare Book School. According to their website, "The courses will be taught by internationally renowned scholars associated with the Institute's Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies, using the unrivalled library and museum resources of London, including the British Library, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the University of London Research Library Services, and many more. All courses will stress the materiality of the book so you can expect to have close encounters with remarkable books and other artefacts from some of the world's greatest collections."
Smith College offers a new Book Studies Concentration. (Ah, Smith College, where were you when I was an undergraduate?!)
Similarly, St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto in Canada offers either a major or a minor in Book and Media Studies.
And, of course, the California Rare Book School at UCLA has announced its 2011 courses here.
Last but not least, and maybe the best place to start your education if you plan to enter the antiquarian bookselling trade, is the wonderful Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar.
If you click around on the website of each school, you'll find that many offer scholarship opportunities.
So, if you want to learn more about antiquarian books, what are you waiting for? Bookish educational opportunities abound!
See you in the stacks!