“2009 is proving to be a truly historic one for ILAB. In Vienna we elected, by unanimous vote, to admit China and Russia into the League. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome these two great nations into the ILAB family. We all look forward to future shared cultural and business ties within our newly expanded rare book selling community and to meetings in Beijing and Moscow.”
China and Russia admitted to the World of Rare Books
At the Presidents’ Meeting, held in Vienna on 9th October and hosted by The Austrian Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association, China and Russia were elected as new ILAB members. For the Rare Book World to formally admit these two great nations to its international organization makes the meeting an historic occasion. It leads back to the roots of the League. In 1948 it was founded to improve friendship and contact between the cultures. Welcoming the Chinese and Russian booksellers sixty years and enormous political revolutions later is therefore a really important step in the history of the League, and for the rare book trade in the future. It opens up the market into the globalized world.
With China and Russia two nations join the ILAB whose cultures set milestones in the history of printing. “Apart from the papyrus, China may be called the birthplace of the ‘biblio’ culture, with its invention of paper production in the 2nd century, and long before the printing technologies of Gutenberg, the establishment and global spread of printing itself in the 9th century”, said ABAJ president Takehiko Sakai:
“In view of such, the participation of China is a very natural event and we warmly welcome this participation. I wish that, in full compliance to international guidelines, China, as a member of ILAB, will deepen mutual understandings through books and contribute to the development of culture and peace throughout the world.” ABAC President Eric Waschke: “This is a real integration of what has been interrupted for a very long time.”
The presidents voted unanimously for increasing ILAB’s activities to 22 associations in 32 countries all around the world. They welcomed the delegations of the Antiquarian Booksellers Associations of the People’s Federal Republic of China (ABAPRC) and the Forum Antikvarov Bukinistov (Russia) (FAB) with standing ovations. Connections will be close. ABAPRC president Yu Hua Gang and FAB president Alexey Lukashin concluded their welcoming words with two invitations: Yu Hua Gang invited the ILAB Presidents to have their 2011 meeting in Beijing, and Alexey Lukashin made sure that they will meet in Moscow in the near future as well.
Adrian Harrington thanked all who had worked hard for this historic moment: Mitsuo Nitta (Japan) and Paul Feain (Australia) deepened the relations to the Chinese booksellers. Norbert Donhofer (Austria) and, especially, Eric Waschke (Canada) guided the ILAB committee through the negotiations. Both did a tremendous amount of work for ILAB, including visits and encounters with the dealers in Moscow and talks at the University of printing, where special courses are given for antiquarian booksellers. The ABAPRC and FAB are still small – but have great growth potential. Dealers in neighbouring countries like Ukraine could either join or form their own associations. Good relations are existing. In its 60 years of existence ILAB has never stopped growing.
What comes next?
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