Fortunately, there are a range of initiatives today to encourage keen young talent.
■ The ABA offers an apprenticeship scheme to new entrants, and is closely involved with the Institute of English Studies’ London Rare Books School, at Senate House, which offers a series of five-day, intensive courses on book-related subjects in June and July.
■ The school also offers a week-long course on maps and mapping – Tim Bryars, co-organiser of the London Map Fair, will be hosting a seminar this year.
■ Elsewhere, the York Antiquarian Book Fair offers a three-day seminar, also known as the “bootcamp for booksellers”, in September. This involves leading collectors, booksellers and librarians sharing their expertise through a series of lectures and workshops. It costs £495, but sponsorships are available via the ABA and the PBFA.
■ The PBFA’s London Antiquarian Book Fair at the ILEC Conference Centre in Earl’s Court has hosted a stand run by school pupils in the past, and The ABA Rare Book Fair London has a ‘Vintage Corner’ offering guidance on where to start collecting, talks on rare books, and advice on entering the trade.
■ The London Original Print Fair (LOPF) always employs art students from the Royal Academy Schools and elsewhere, which brings them into contact with dealers. Its biggest initiative, according to fair director Helen Rosslyn, is the Hallett Acquisitions Award. Hallett Independent Art Insurance brokers puts up £8000 to be spent at the fair, with the LOPF funding the cost of an overnight stay in London for a curator from five shortlisted institutions.