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ILAB Internships – Out of the Classroom, into the World

We're happy to introduce ILAB's new intern Julia Kulyamzina. She's spending four weeks in the United States with Tom Congalton, current ILAB President and owner of Between the Covers. Read her first report!
Published on 27 Oct. 2012

Julia Kulyamzina: United States 2012

We're happy to introduce ILAB’s new intern Julia Kulyamzina. She's spending four weeks in the United States with Tom Congalton, current ILAB President and owner of Between the Covers. Read her first report!

I'm sending you my notes from New Jersey, USA, where one of the best American bookshops Between the Covers Rare Books is situated and where I am fortunate to work as an intern.

My name is Julia Kulyamzina and I'm a student at Moscow State University of Printing Arts. My specialization is the antiquarian book trade taught by professor Olga Tarakanova. Through her work with ILAB there was created the Internship program, in which our students can participate and learn about the work of booksellers in other countries. Few of our students have already participated in the program, they have been able to gain invaluable experience and get important connections in Australia and Europe. I'm incredibly lucky that I was invited to the United States, where the antiquarian book trade is a very developed sphere. I was also very fortunate to come to Tom Congalton's bookstore and I'm very grateful for this opportunity.

I have been here for one and a half weeks already working in the store that doesn't cease to amaze me and delight with its organized work and great employees. The workflow is divided into different stages, each employee has its own functions, but they all endeavour to capture as much knowledge and skills as they can. For example, it is necessary that in times of heavy load forces could be transferred to the place where they are most needed (for example, during the holidays to deal with a lot of the packaging of the departure orders).

All the people in the store are extremely nice and willing to share the experience with me. Most of the time I have been cataloging new acquisitions. I started with American books, but spent a lot of time with the Russian books as well. In addition, I was able to take part in the whole process of moving books from receiving the order to sending it, and also I got to know what happens to books after they had been described and brought to the database.

At the moment I'm doing a project which eventually will appear as a mini-catalogue of Russian books meaning Russian fiction, books about Russia and in Russian. I hope there are some projects ahead for me and also a few trips to other booksellers. Can't wait!

I would also like to tell you about the store itself. Between the Covers is primarily famous for modern first editions. They have achieved a great success in this field. Of course, the store does not only deal with first editions, there are many items on all possible subjects, from different times and countries. It is online trading in which an easy and at the same time extraordinary website is very important (here is the link

There is a great team behind all of this. First of all there are Tom and Heidi Congalton to whom I'm very thankful for their kindness and generosity of knowledge and time. The store employs more than 10 people who are comfortably settled with all the huge number of books in a former school in the town of Gloucester City. I am very happy to meet such a good work mood (and a lot of good jokes!), a passion and friendliness here. It is great fun to work here, to watch the process of work, learning a lot of new things especially because the American and Russian book trades are very different. I hope that all my new experience I will be able to use in Russia and make a change in the landscape of Russian bookselling for the better. Though of course this is all just a beginning!

I also wanted to thank everyone who has been so nice to me since I was here. Especially Ashley Wildes who was so great to let me stay at her home with her lovely parents and helped with everything.

To be continued.

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