Letter to a Young Bookbinder, 1889: Don’t Go Into This Trade!

 The British bookmaker, Vol. 3, 1889  (p. 185)

It is odd to be in a field that has such a long history of not just pessimism, but an impending sense that the entire trade is nearing death. But this must be tempered with the knowledge that this has continued for at least 120 years, and likely much longer.  A long, slow death, indeed.  So when I attempt to dissuade a young, would be book conservator from entering the field, perhaps I am just continuing this somewhat old tradition.  Or maybe it is an established method to keep the field populated by those who are passionate, determined, cantankerous, and foolhardy enough not to be deterred by its eternally gloomy future.

***

Next week, at the annual AIC conference, I’ll be guest blogging for AIC, covering the panel discussion,  “Models for Educating Library and Archives Conservators”.  Hopefully it will prove to be a lively and provocative session – at least my questions will be!  Most of the presentations at the conference will be covered by various bloggers on the new AIC Blog.

Description of the session:

This session, “Models for Educating Library and Archives Conservators,”
will explore a variety of approaches for the education of the next
generation of library and archives conservators.  The discussion will
include a brief overview of educational programs and consider lessons
learned from various educational approaches of the past.  Representatives
from several art conservation programs will describe their approaches to
educating students who wish to specialize in the conservation of materials
in libraries and archives.  Issues to be explored, with the participation
of the audience, include the key components of these programs, new
curricular directions in the United States and abroad, the emergence of
online and hybrid courses, the job market, and the continuing need for
internships and mentors.

The panelist will include Michele Cloonan, Graduate School of Library and
Information Science, Simmons College, Margaret Holben Ellis, New York
University and the Morgan Library and Museum, Lois Price, the University of
Delaware-Winterthur, and Judy Walsh, Buffalo State.

2 thoughts on “Letter to a Young Bookbinder, 1889: Don’t Go Into This Trade!

  1. Peter Verheyen

    I’m looking forward that discussion as well. I receive a fair number of queries on a regular basis from those looking to enter the field as binders, conservators, journal makers, … For many who are looking for a change from their day jobs, often with benefits…, I recommend that they find a way to stick with the job and do the books for enjoyment and/or on the side. Keeping the “field populated by those who are passionate, determined, cantankerous, and foolhardy enough not to be deterred by its eternally gloomy future” isn’t all bad.

    Look forward to seeing all there. Peter

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