By Sally Burdon, ILAB Committee Member
What will the following have in common on April 23?
1. Spanish lessons for antiquarian booksellers in Budapest
2. Groningen Halal butcher displays rare books on cattle in shop window
3. London's historic Inn Library welcomes antiquarian booksellers to pop up amidst its shelves
4. Vienna's brand new Museum of Literature says yes to antiquarian booksellers
5. 19th century woolshed in the Australian bush hours from a major city becomes a book fair
6. Rare books for sale on top of a Chicago skyscraper
What will these and a number of other quirky locations with antiquarian booksellers have in common next Thursday April 23?
ILAB's celebration of UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day 2015 is the correct answer!
Want to liven up the antiquarian book world? Want to introduce others to the world of out of print books? ILAB booksellers do. We are not ridiculously optimistic. Of course we know that it will always be only a section of society who is really interested in collecting books, but the old ways of introducing the younger people who are interested have been greatly diminished.
Now, as we all know there are great numbers of younger people who have not had the benefit of growing up with numerous antiquarian bookstores in their area. However, people don't fundamentally change, and if there is any trend it is that there is more respect paid to information and knowledge than there has ever been. However, there are so many competing forces and, let's face it, the story is that books have been having a rough time of staying relevant. And it certainly doesn't help the cause, if booksellers have limited visibility, because they have to close their shops and decide to run their business via the Internet!
In April last year when ILAB President Norbert Donhofer suggested that ILAB organise something to celebrate the annual UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day some serious thinking had to go on. Now, a year later (and thousands of emails later) over 30 events of such diversity and charm will take place across the world that it is hard to believe possible this time last year it wasn't a formed idea. Each of the events, in their own way will place rare books in the front of people that have not seen such beautiful books before.
So join us on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day, April 23, when ILAB dealers are going to spread the word. These dealers will tell people that it is possible and highly satisfying to collect rare and beautiful books, fun to celebrate the culture of the book and vital to celebrate the basic human right that literacy is by raising money for UNESCO's literacy work in South Sudan.