I’m a bit overwhelmed at the thought of coherently summing up the experience of this year’s Annual Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, which I was lucky enough to attend. So much is packed into the week. So I’m just going to kind of list my thoughts in the order they occur to me -As Chris pointed out, there are many scholarships available (indeed more than ever before). But even without scholarship support, any bookdealer or bibliophile looking to expand their knowledge, grow their business, or meet their colleagues would be well advised to attend.
- The most common question I’ve gotten from other booksellers is “Was it worth it?” To which the simple answer is, you better &%$#@(&%-ing believe it was. Every penny, every hour, every bit of lost sleep was worth it.
- The seminar struck a difficult balance between being useful for the newbie while not boring the more experienced sellers. They managed, in my opinion, to engage both the more advanced attendees as well as those just beginning. This is, of course, a testament to the faculty.
- Was a surprisingly diverse group. Many attendees were literally just starting out. Others had been working at it for years. A few open shops. I was also interested to see that there were a fair number of librarians and pure collectors in attendance. I was also struck by the number of (like me) younger students. Still a minority (about ten of about fifty), but as someone who’s used to usually being the youngest person in a group of booksellers, a nice change. I think part of the liveliness of the discussions stemmed from what was a reasonably eclectic group.
- In a strange strictly-speaking kind of way, the information given during the seminars was in some ways the least of the entire experience. Which is not to say the information wasn’t invaluable, or that this alone wasn’t worth the price of admission all by itself. It was. But for me, two other elements are what really made the seminars outstanding...
- The first was how what the faculty taught told you at least as much about what you DIDN’T know as what you did, and in this way sketched out the boundaries of your expertise while simultaneously inspiring (at least me) to continue to learn more.
- And second, the other amazing part of the week were the other attendees. I think I learned more from the other “seminarians” than anyone else. In addition, it was wonderful to finally be able to talk with other people who know what you’re talking about. We all basically work alone in a business that most people don’t understand. What a relief then to talk books and not have to explain what you’re talking about. Haven’t laughed so hard as I did last week in a LONG time. In addition, the other students are, of course, the people who will be your colleagues for the foreseeable future. Good people to know.
- Highlights? Faculty member Terry Belanger. Erudite, engaging, a bit eccentric and with the driest sense of humor I think I’ve ever encountered, he made what were often fairly dull topics (bibliography, collation, etc) utterly fascinating.
- Also: good bookscouting. Paid for my plane ticket with a few finds from our various field trips. Huzzah!
In short, one of the best week’s of my life. Can’t recommend it too highly. Beg, borrow, or steal but go go go. You won’t regret it. Happy to answer other questions for anyone who’s interested.
2009 Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar
I've recently had occasion to gather and read several decades of old AB Bookman's Weekly's and AB Yearbooks (more on this in another post). But last night I came across the ad to the left (click for full view) from... Read More