Thursday, September 21, 2006

Alcuin Society And Other Book-Related Events In The Pacific Northewest For Fall 2006

For full details (printable pdf format) click here.

Yes, We Can Print That!: 25 Years of the Day Moon Press
Now until October 28th, 2006
Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers, Seattle

Vancouver Book & Magazine Fair, aka Word on the Street
Sunday, September 24TH, 2006, 11am-6pm.
The Vancouver Public Library

Speaker: Derek Hayes
Monday, October 2, 2006 @ 7:30pm.
The Vancouver Public Library

Korean Printing Exhibition
October 5th – October 7th, 2006
The Vancouver Public Library

Speaker: David Carlin
Wednesday, October 11th, 2006, 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

Speaker: Nicholas Basbane
Friday, October 13th, 2006, 6pm for a 7pm dinner and 8pm presentation.
McCormick & Schmick’s Harborside Restaurant, 1200 Westlake Avenue North, Seattle, Washington.
Seattle Center Pavilion

The Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival

Tuesday, October 17th to Sunday, October 22, 2006 (six full days of events)
Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C. (several venues)

Speaker: Jeff Derksen
Thursday, October 19th, 2006, 12:30p.m. to 1:30p.m.
Special Collections & Rare Books, Simon Fraser University Library

Surrey International Writer’s Conference 2006
Friday, October 21st to Sunday, October 23rd, 2006
The Sheraton Guildford Hotel, 15269 104th Avenue, Surrey, B.C.

Speaker: Michael Kluckner
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006, 7:30 p.m.
The Vancouver Public Library

Speaker: Annabel Lyon
Thursday, November 16th, 2006, 12:30p.m. to 1:30p.m.
Special Collections & Rare Books, Simon Fraser University Library

The Alcuin Society’s Annual Book Auction
Saturday, November 18th, 11am for lunch at 12pm followed by a book auction.
The University Golf Club, University Boulevard, Vancouver, B.C.

The Jewish Book Festival for 2006
November 18th to November 23rd, 2006
The Jewish Community Center at the corner of Oak and 41st.

Speaker: Robert Bringhurst
Friday, November 24th, 7:30 p.m.
The Vancouver Public Library

Rimmerfest: An Evening Devoted to Celebrate Jim Rimmer and his many contributions to the book arts.
Saturday, November 25th, 2006, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Simon Fraser University, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Sidney, B.C. Christmas Writers’ Festival 2006.
November 24th-November 26th, 2006
Sidney, B.C.

West Vancouver Memorial Library Books and Printing Exhibition
December 1 – 31, 2006
West Vancouver Memorial Public Library

Again, for full details (printable pdf format) click here.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

More book theft

The Guardian points to another article about book theft:
Smiley, a 50-year-old US dealer in rare maps and known for his impeccable blazers and scholarly demeanour, pleaded guilty in a US federal court this year to stealing 97 rare maps, worth £1.6m, including the Apian, from the British Library and leading US institutions. He had been armed only with a razor blade. Now the British Library is demanding that US authorities throw the book at Smiley, saying he stole three other maps, worth in total £47,000, from the library and that by razoring the rare 1520 Apian map from a volume owned by Cranmer - a key Turdor figure - he was guilty of "ripping at the heart" of a public institution.
If you find this story interesting, you might want to take a look at Miles Harvey's The Island of Lost Maps: a True Story of Cartographic Crime. The book / map thief detailed in this book was actually involved in thefts in Vancouver.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Library on guard with old books


Collectors are trying to acquire some simple but nostalgic volumes.

Those of a certain age may remember with fondness the books of their youth – those sweet, innocent boys’ and girls’ adventure books from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Pure as the driven snow, they were – their characters didn’t use drugs, have sex or cuss.

The Allen County Public Library has an estimated 10,000 books in its collection that fit this general description, said Associate Director Steve Fortriede. And a strange thing is starting to happen – demand for these relics appears to be on the increase, elevating them almost to collectors’ status. And that is forcing the library to rethink how it’s going to protect books it didn’t even realize had that much value.

For example, Fortriede recently received a letter from a book collector seeking to buy the library’s copy of “Secret of Thunder Mountain,” written by Norvin Pallas and copyrighted in 1951. The dealer was willing to pay $100 for the small hardbound book with yellowed pages. Fortriede guessed the dealer was trying to assemble a collection for a client. He said if a dealer was willing to pay $100, a client might have been willing to pay double that amount.

At one time the library would have classified the book as a “fifth-to-eighth-grade boys’ book,” Fortriede said.

The letter from the dealer wasn’t a random missive. Fortriede said the library has received three letters seeking the same types of books in the last couple of months. He sees a trend.

So who’s buying these books?

Two types of people. They’re in demand with a lot of home-schoolers, Fortriede said, many of whom choose books from this era for their children to read because they don’t want to have to worry about any objectionable material. Then there are the collectors, who appear to be driven by nostalgia.

Modern technology has made it easier for collectors and dealers to find out-of-print books. Many use WorldCat, a worldwide library cooperative Web site, to locate specific books. Then they can try to persuade a library to sell its copy.

Or they can seek an interlibrary loan – for example, a library system elsewhere would borrow a book from the Allen County Public Library. Libraries do this routinely, but Fortriede fears savvy collectors will get their hands on one of these books and then never return it, opting to pay a minimal fee for the lost book when they know it’s really worth much more.

Fortriede said the library may have to restrict some of these books from interlibrary loans, but the problem lies in figuring out which of the 10,000 are likely to be stolen, and which aren’t. He also suggested the library might put a higher replacement price on the more valuable books to discourage people from “losing” them and paying the fee.

Another option is providing people with photocopies of the books. Some people don’t want the actual copy, they just want to read the book, and photocopying or digitizing the books will suffice. Some books of this genre are still in print – such as the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series – so theft of those is not a concern.

The more obscure “Secret of Thunder Mountain” is a different story. Fortriede declined the dealer’s offer. “We have a policy we never sell the last copy of anything,” he said. That’s what makes the depth and breadth of the library’s collection so impressive, he said.

However, he didn’t plan to put the “Secret of Thunder Mountain” back on the shelf, either. It may end up in the library’s rare books collection.