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ILAB - A Global Network

Published on 30 April 2014

Foster friendship and good business relations, create open markets and cultural exchange – Those were the aims when the ILAB was founded in 1947/1948. What started with 10 associations from European countries has become a worldwide organization. Today, ILAB is a global network for antiquarian booksellers who are more than a group of dealers joining the same internet platform or a database.

ILAB - A Global Network

There are two main meetings of the League, held in alternate years. Apart from the official Presidents’ Meetings, the ILAB Congress and the International Antiquarian Book Fair are open to all antiquarian booksellers affiliated to the League through their national associations, and their partners. ILAB Congresses have a long tradition. They are cultural and social events that lead the booksellers to the capitals of the world, where they are shown the treasures of book printing and arts, and where they have the possibility for networking in a relaxed atmosphere with a worldwide background. The International Antiquarian Book Fairs, held every two years together with the Congress, are the international market place for rare books, manuscripts, prints, autographs and ephemera from the high end of the rare book trade. Meet the ILAB booksellers from Moscow to Montreal, from Paris to Sydney – or in Bologna in 2010. ILAB events are worth visiting, they are the real platform for business contacts throughout the world.

Supported by ILAB

Besides the official ILAB Congresses and Fairs, the League supports fairs organized by the national antiquarian booksellers’ associations. These book fairs are highly esteemed events, from Europe to America, Asia and Australia. They are covered by the Code of Usages and Customs. You can trust in the expertise of the exhibitors. Enjoy the wide range of beautiful, rare, extraordinary and valuable books offered wherever you see the logo of the League.

See a listing of all ILAB sanctioned book fairs here

ILAB fairs


A Worldwide Federation

“We make a great point not only of the independence of the national body, but also of the independence of individual associations.” (André Poursin). The 22 national associations that belong to the League are independent in their countries. They have their own sets of rules with equally high standards for their booksellers. Various activities from book fairs to lectures and special publications promote the rare book trade and the book culture in 32 countries, all around the world. The League represents and coordinates the overall interests of the national associations. As a global federation it consists of THE GENERAL MEETING and  THE COMMITTEE.

The General Meeting is the supreme governing body of the ILAB. It is composed of delegates from the national associations who meet once a year to discuss and decide how the ILAB affairs are going on. ILAB’s executive body is the Committee which has eight members: President, Vice-President, General Secretary, Treasurer as well as four other members, each from a different country.

The Committee manages the affairs of the League according to the decisions made at the Ordinary or Extraordinary General Meeting. The members are elected for two years, and meet at least twice a year. The Presidents of Honour and the immediate Past President may attend the meetings in an advisory capacity, but they are not entitled to vote. All details of administration and organization lie in the hands of the Executive Secretary, who takes part in all the meetings and takes care that everything is done to the convenience of all ILAB affiliates.

ILAB Congress L.A.
ILAB Booksellers gather at the Getty Museum & Library, Los Angeles during the 2018 ILAB Congress in Los Angeles, Pasadena. 


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