What time of year is that, you wonder?
It’s that time of year when I remind you of the many excellent educational opportunities for booksellers and all of the corresponding scholarship opportunities. (If you know of a program I left out, please leave a comment and let me know.)
First, there’s the wonderful Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar. If you are considering becoming an antiquarian bookseller, if you have recently started your business, and even if you’ve had a bookselling business for years, this seminar will teach you more than you thought possible in one short week. In addition to that, you will leave having met many more booksellers than you already know. I attended the seminar myself in 2007, shortly after I opened Book Hunter’s Holiday, and five years later it is still very helpful in the day-to-day way that I conduct my business. Here are ten good reasons you should consider attending this seminar.
Next up is Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Another bookseller once described it to me as “graduate school for booksellers”. With specialized courses such as Introduction to the Principles of Bibliographic Description and Book Illustration Processes to 1900 offered to booksellers, collectors, and librarians, these week-long courses will help you sharpen skills used on a daily basis by antiquarian booksellers — skills in identifying, researching, and writing about books. I had the great good fortune to attend Rare Book School in 2009. Are you wondering whether Rare Book School is for you? You can read about the details of my experience there here, here, and here.
Across the country from Virginia’s Rare Book School is California Rare Book School, on the campus of UCLA. With similar specialized courses to its companion school at the University of Virginia, California Rare Book School offers courses this year such as History, Identification, and Preservation of Photographic Materials and Old Books for Young Children. I took a course called Books of the Far West at California Rare Book School in 2008. If you’re wondering what it was like, you can read about my experience in more detail here and here.
Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “Well, rare book schools and antiquarian book seminars are all very well and good and there’s no question that they’d be useful for me, but these things cost money.” Having applied to these programs not long after I had opened my business, I wasn’t sure I had the cash flow to attend. I am happy to say that I have twice benefited from partial and full scholarships to these excellent programs. Sure, it’s possible to apply and not receive a scholarship, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Go ahead. Dream a bit about what your business can be. Dreaming is good. But then take some steps to make your dream happen. Good luck!
There’s help. There are, in fact, many scholarships and partial scholarships available (many more than when I attended these programs a few years ago), and the time to start applying for these is now.
Tomorrow: One More Scholarship Opportunity
See you in the stacks!