2024 Diverse Voices Fellowship

CABS-Minnesota is committed to diversity in the used and rare bookselling profession and is currently seeking applications for its 2024 Diverse Voices Fellowship. We believe that a diverse and inclusive book trade will benefit booksellers, collectors, and the cultural heritage community at large by expanding perspectives and by encouraging new collaborations. We recognize that many talented professionals in the bookselling and cultural heritage fields do not see themselves reflected in the traditional rare book trade. As one step toward centering non-dominant perspectives, CABS-Minnesota is building an annual cohort of up to five individuals who have a strong interest in learning more about selling used and rare books and who have found themselves isolated in or distanced from the bookselling trade by reason of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and/or income. The program is now in its third year; you can read more about the 2023 Diverse Voices Fellows here.


Fellowship Eligibility 

An eligible applicant will: 

  • Identify as a person of color, LGBTQ+ person, person with disabilities, person from a low-income background, woman, nonbinary person, and/or trans person. Applications from Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, and other people of color are especially encouraged. 

  • Be an early- or mid-career bookseller or a person with a strong interest in participating in a program of professional and career development focused on used and rare bookselling, including the trade in archives and ephemera. Library, archives, and museum professionals, as well as private collectors and members of the book arts community, are eligible to apply if they have a strong interest in moving into the work of selling used and rare books. 

  • Be a resident of the United States.

  • Be a minimum of 18 years of age.

Previous applicants to CABS scholarships or fellowships who meet the above requirements are eligible to apply. In addition, although preference will be given to applicants who have never previously attended the CABS bookselling seminar, alums of the seminar who meet the above requirements are eligible to apply. 

Multiple individuals working at the same bookstore or institution may apply. However, only one individual per bookstore or institution may be selected as a Fellow in a given year.


Fellowship Activities

The CABS-Minnesota Diverse Voices Fellowship will include the following activities, scheduled to occur between May and December 2024. With the exceptions of the two-day field school and week-long seminar, the average time commitment for the fellowship is roughly 2-3 hours per month:

  • Fellows will begin the program by meeting one another virtually and participating in a fellowship program orientation. 

  • Fellows will meet one-on-one with CABS-Minnesota’s Fellowship Coordinator to discuss their fellowship goals.

  • Fellows will participate in a virtual reception with members of the CABS-Minnesota faculty and board, as well as alumni of the fellowship program.

  • Working closely with the Diverse Voices Fellows, CABS-Minnesota will design a custom, two-day field school inWashington, D.C., for fall 2024 that will allow for an in-depth exploration of the used and rare bookselling profession. The program may include meeting local booksellers for a behind-the-scenes view of their work and/or visiting private or institutional collections. Travel, housing, and meal costs will be covered by the fellowship. 

  • Fellows will attend the CABS seminar on selling used, rare, and antiquarian books, scheduled to occur at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota from July 14 to 20, 2024, with the cost of tuition, travel, housing, and meals covered by the fellowship. A preliminary schedule for this summer’s CABS seminar can be found here.

  • CABS-Minnesota will facilitate opportunities for networking and community-building among fellows and seminar alums in virtual spaces.

  • Fellows will have the opportunity to apply what they have learned during the fellowship by participating in a final project, such as issuing a sales catalog or selling books at a virtual book fair.

  • For fellows who work with materials by or about diverse communities, there may be opportunities to engage in conversations about the practices of sourcing, describing, and selling such materials, including emerging ethical practices. 

  • Owing to the ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please note that in-person fellowship events may be subject to change.


How to Apply

Submit the following materials by Friday, April 19, 2024 at 11:59 PM EST via this link. Fellowship decisions will be announced in May 2024.

  • Application form. 

  • A personal statement or essay (no longer than two pages, double-spaced; PDF preferred) addressing the following: 1) your experience with used and rare books, archives, and related materials, if applicable; 2) your experience with bookselling, if applicable; 3) why you are interested in the fellowship and what you hope to gain from it; and 4) any goals or aspirations you have with respect to bookselling and/or related cultural heritage professions. Anonymized examples of personal statements from the prior year can be found here: Example 1 and Example 2

  • Resume (PDF preferred). If you do not have a resume, please email gwen@bookseminars.com prior to applying to discuss alternate arrangements. 

  • Acceptance of terms and conditions, including agreeing to follow COVID-19 protocols at fellowship events. All visitors to St. Olaf will be required to adhere to St. Olaf's COVID-19 policies. To see the current policy at St. Olaf, click here.

Applications will be judged on a variety of criteria, including, if applicable, experience with used and rare books or related materials; experience or interest in bookselling; clarity and thoroughness of the applicant’s explanation of their reason for applying and what they hope to gain from the fellowship; and/or the extent to which the fellowship will help the candidate achieve their professional goals. Candidates continuing to the second round of consideration will be asked to provide the name of a reference.

 If you have any questions about the fellowship or the application process, please contact Gwendolyn Reese at gwen@bookseminars.com. We will also be holding an informational session on Zoom on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at 5pm Eastern (4pm Central, 3pm Mountain, 2pm Pacific), at which you’ll have an opportunity to learn about the fellowship, hear from 2023 Diverse Voices Fellows about their experience with the program, and get your questions answered. In addition, we will be holding office hours on Zoom, which will allow for one-on-one conversations with the fellowship coordinator. Register for the group informational session here and/or for one-on-one office hours here.


 The Antiquarian Book School Foundation (ABSF) is an independent, non-profit, and tax-exempt educational institution focused on promoting, maintaining, and expanding the standards of the antiquarian, used, and out-of-print book trade. CABS-Minnesota, which is administered by the ABSF, is an annual week-long intensive seminar for booksellers, prospective booksellers, and others with an interest in the rare and second-hand book market. For more on our programs and missions, visit our website at bookseminars.com