Here and There: Visiting the New York Antiquarian Book Fair

It's no secret; events and conventions are a big part of almost any interest group. Whether it's through the relay of colorful lore, mailing list messages, and social media coverage - conventions and events are an exciting part of life and times at Simmons GSLIS. From presenting new projects to raising questions and dialogues, attending events can be an important step to rooting yourself into your professional field. Unbeknownst to me, I came face to face with my first professional event by complete accident.

This past April, I was in Manhattan walking home from none other than my high school reunion. Passing the Park Avenue Armory, the banners adorning it were unmistakable, reading: New York Antiquarian tumblr_n3ob9xeoAT1qbwvhpo4_500.jpgBook Faire. Heart be still -  I knew I had a couple of hours before evening plans, and I fully intended to spend those hours inside that building, seeing all that was humanly possible between now and then. I picked up student admission and quickly encountered a sea of exhibitors hailing from locations from Austria to Washington state which were spread throughout the convention floor and displayed objects ranging from edgy punk zines to an original Mozart manuscript.  Quickly making my way across the convention floor to make the most of my limited time, I amassed a considerable loot of catalogs and business cards between short conversations with vendors which not only recognized Simmons GSLIS upon mention, but were themselves occasional GSLIS alumnae. As an archives student, seeing the value of priceless manuscripts expressed in monetary terms rather than expressed by their significance and impact as objects was a new and unique experience. Making my way from this whirlwind of rare books and manuscripts, I considered the many lives an object can live through the changing of hands by institutions, vendors, and private collectors - and how information professionals from GSLIS and beyond mediate this process. For current and prospective students interested in learning more about the myriad applications of an education in LIS while familiarizing yourself with influential ideas, figures, and issues in the profession, conventions and events are a compelling way to achieve this.

For more information on regional book fairs, scope out the following links:

Boston Antiquarian Book Fair

New York Antiquarian Book Fair


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