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Rare Books: Still So Much to Learn and Discover - ANZAAB/State Library of NSW Conference

decoration21 April 2016|23 April 2016

Rare Books: Still So Much to Learn and Discover is a must go to conference for anyone interested in rare books and associated materials on paper. It will particularly appeal to special collections librarians, collectors and antiquarian booksellers but is open to anyone interested. Over two days, subjects such as the building of collections of books and ephemera, research, theft and digitisation will be discussed. Well known author and entertaining speaker Nicholas Basbanes will speak from the USA on the history of paper and the State Libary of NSW will offer special behind the scenes tours of the library.

The conference will address both educational and practical needs of the professionals working with special collections and in the trade, and will equip them to do their jobs with greater insight and understanding. Collectors will benefit from the opportunity to hear from the professionals and other collectors giving all three groups an update on what is going on in the world of rare books today.

ILAB Pop Up Book Fair on 23 April 2016

The two-day conference will culminate in another must go to for all who are interested in rare books, manuscripts and all printed material in general. After its imminent success in 2015 the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers and its worldwide affiliates will once again join the celebrations of UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day with ILAB Pop Up Fairs across the world from Australia to Japan and Korea, South Africa, Russia, all over Europe and to the United States. The first of these fascinating Pop Ups will be held, following the Sydney conference on 23 April at The State Library of New South Wales.

Both events are organised by The Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers in conjunction with The State Library of New South Wales.


Thursday 21 April

Session 1:  Creative Collecting – Enduring Collections

Chair:  Jonathan Burdon

9.10 – 10.15 am: Collecting ephemera: the Monash experience - Richard Overell

Richard Overell was Rare Books Librarian at Monash University for 26 years until 2014. During his career at Monash he added over 150,000 items to the collection, of which a large proportion was ephemera. His appreciation of all of these items from the small or quirky to major works means that Monash now has a unique and important collection of ephemera.

10.45 – 11.40 am: Book Collecting and DSM-5* – The Hon David Levine AO RFD QC

David Levine is a book collector in the finest tradition; knowledgeable, scholarly and with the greatest appreciation of all things related to the book. Well known in legal circles, David Levine was a judge in the Supreme Court of New South Wales for 13 years, and continues to hold significant appointments within the justice system in NSW.  He has built an important book collection over many years and will share stories of the joys and “madness” of building a private library.  

11.40 – 12.30 am: Keepers of the Flame - Some Antarctic collections – Stephen Martin

Stephen Martin is a writer, Antarctic historian and collection builder. Since 1998, Stephen has travelled to the Antarctic and its islands as a history lecturer, tourist and sailor. He has published several books on the south. He worked for many years with the Antarctic collections of the State Library of New South Wales. During his career he has visited and worked in many other Antarctic collections, including the collections of Australian Capital Equity in Perth and Sydney and small museums and collections on the continent and sub-Antarctic islands.

Thursday 21 April

Session 2:  Outsider Research

Chair: Michael Treloar

13:35 - 14:15 pm: Only Amateurs, Hobbyists and Dilettantes? A Brief History of Private Scholarship - Jörn Harbeck

Jörn Harbeck is an antiquarian bookseller in Brisbane with a recently developed interest in modernist Australian book design from the 1930s and 1940s.

14:15 - 15:00 pm: For Pleasure, not Profit: Researching and Writing Introductions to the Friends of the State Library of South Australia's Publications - Valmai Hankel AM PSM

Valmai Hankel has worked for nearly 60 years for the State Library of South Australia. She has driven many times, usually alone, through much of the country crossed by the four lesser known explorers (Allan A Davidson, Charles Chewings, John McKinlay, and Ted Colson) discussed in her talk, and has discovered how easy it is to find conflicting and inaccurate information about historical figures, and how a piece of serendipity can save hours of research work.

15:30 - 16:15 pm:   The Making of an Explorer - Ralph Grandison

Ralph Grandison has done extraordinary work on relocating original sites of paintings by the likes of George French Angas and S.T. Gill. He has done this using a unique combination of knowledge from a broad and diverse range of disciplines - history, geography, anthropology, botany, meteorology, geology - harnessed by what can only be called an obsessive attention to detail.

16:15 - 17:00 pm:  Taking it personally - Earl Grey's Irish Female Orphan Emigration Scheme, 1848-50 - Dr Neisha Wratten

Dr. Neisha Wratten is an Adelaide obstetrician and gynaecologist, with an engaging passion for genealogy.

Friday 22 April  

Session 3: On Paper

9.00 – 10.00 am:  On Paper  - Nicholas Basbanes (via Skype)

Nicholas A. Basbanes is the author of nine critically acclaimed works of cultural history, with a particular emphasis on various aspects of books and book culture. His first, A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, and was named a New York Times Notable Book. His most recent, On Paper: The Everything of Its Two Thousand Year History (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013, Vintage, 2014) – which he will discuss in this lecture – was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities research fellowship, and was one of three finalists selected by the American Library Association for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

Friday 22 April  

Session 4: Protecting the Collections

Chair: Jonathan Burdon

10.05 -10.25 am :  Rare Book Theft - An International Perspective - Norbert Donhofer (Video)

Norbert Donhofer is the Principal of Antiquariat Norbert Donhofer, Vienna, Austria and current President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

10.50 am  - 12.30 pm: Theft of Rare Books and Associated Materials in Australia  - Panel Discussion  - Chair:  Jonathan Burdon

Theft of books in Australia has been an ever-present problem but with few exceptions it has not reached the significant levels experienced in Europe and the USA.  In this session, this topic will be discussed as a significant emerging risk by an antiquarian bookseller, a librarian, a book collector, other interested stake holders, and the audience, with the aim of creating interest in developing a network capable of promptly responding to reports of significant losses.

Friday 22 April  

Session 5:  State Library of NSW Programme

1.30 - 2.10 pm: Artist Colony: Drawing Sydney's Nature - Louise Anemaat

2.10 -  2.30 pm: Digitising the David Scott Mitchell Collection - Maggie Patton

3.30 - 5.00 pm: Tour of the Collection and Care and Imaging Services Laboratories: State Library of New South Wales


21 April 2016|23 April 2016
Macquarie Street Sydney
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The Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers / The State Library of New South Wales
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