By Vic Zoschak
We’re extremely pleased to announce that Travis Low of Ken Sanders Rare Books has won this year’s Tavistock Books Scholarship to Rare Book School (RBS). Travis will take Joel Silver’s course, Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books, at RBS in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Rare Books through the Back Door
As many of us in this field do, Travis wears many hats at Ken Sanders Rare Books. He came in, almost literally, through the back door, starting out as a shipping clerk. Travis, who is also a documentary filmmaker, was shooting a documentary about writer and performance poet Alex Caldiero. Ken Sanders, a friend of Caldiero’s, appeared in the documentary, so Travis got to meet him. He’d been a customer of Ken Sanders Rare Books and asked if there were any employment opportunities.
He found the bookstore an incredibly collegial environment and has gotten involved in other aspects of the trade as opportunities arose. “Ken has been extremely supportive, and I’m gradually getting more involved in acquisition and description, so this RBS course seems like an excellent place to further my understanding,” says Travis.
As he delves further into the rare book world, research becomes increasingly important. “My favorite aspect of the book trade is when new books come into the store and we get to start digging through them. I find that pretty engaging and have a real affinity for the research required to learn something new about the publishers, the authors, and the books’ subject areas as well.”
The Start of an Ongoing Education
Last summer Travis attended the Colorado Antiquarian Books Seminar (CABS). The program gave him an excellent introduction to the world of rare books, and RBS will allow him to take a more specific, focused course in an area where he needs to grow. Travis noted that he’s been encouraged to further his education through RBS by many respected professionals: Ken Sanders, Melissa Sanders, and Terry Belanger had all stressed the value of the experience.
Travis says that he hopes this will be the first of many courses he takes at RBS. “I’ve spoken several times with Tavistock Books’ proprietor, Vic Zoschak, and he always talks about RBS as his way of continuing his education, and about how he feels an obligation to do that as a professional. That really resonated with me, and I feel compelled to constantly better myself.” After taking Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books, Travis would like to take the Introduction to the Principles of Bibliographical Description.
Travis Low grew up near Logan, UT. He studied Philosophy, Humanities, and Film at Utah Valley University. In January 2010, Travis began working at Ken Sanders Rare Books where he has found an encouraging and instructive working environment. In addition to being a full-time bookseller, he is also an active documentary filmmaker and a hibernating musician. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT.
(Post on the Tavistock Books Blog, presented here by permission of Vic Zoschak. Photo: Ashley Thalman, Fine Books & Collections.)