Seminar History

The Out-of-Print and Antiquarian Book Market seminar began in 1977 as the result of a collaboration between Dean Margaret Goggin of the Graduate School of Librarianship and Information Management at the University of Denver and Jacob L. Chernofsky, editor and publisher of AB Bookmans’ Weekly.

Book Seminar Program in Progress

Goggin, who had a keen interest in both the worlds of librarianship and antiquarian bookselling, had been dismayed at how little librarians and book dealers knew of each other’s methods, procedures and problems. She conceived of the seminar as a meeting ground and education tool for both.

The low-key, trial first session with an enrollment of 25 registrants was held in 1977 at the Denver school to test some of the ideas that Goggin and Chernofsky had. The first full-fledged seminar was held in August of 1979, and was announced in its brochure as,

An intense program of study designed to provide the opportunity for acquisitions librarians, collection developers, and beginning rare book librarians to study the out-of-print and rare materials market with the leading specialists in the field.

Demand for the seminar proved to be great. Because of space limitations and the desire to maintain a high faculty to student ratio, enrollment was limited to 100 persons and there was usually a waiting list. The seminar continued to be held at the University of Denver and was universally known as “the Denver Seminar.” The seminar was such a success in both the library and book dealer worlds that for a short time two seminars a year were held, with the additional seminar held at the University of Florida in Gainsville.

When the University of Denver discontinued its Graduate Library School, the seminar found a temporary home in nearby Golden, CO and then at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where it was located from 1999 until 2019 and became familiarly known as CABS.

After cancellation during the pandemic year of 2020 and a shift to an online curriculum in the summer of 2021, the seminar returned to in-person instruction in July, 2022 at its new location on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, under a new name that echos the roots of the seminar and celebrates its new home: CABS-Minnesota.

Given the enormous changes to the antiquarian book world since 1978, the curriculum has evolved to meet these radical shifts, with increasing emphasis on the realities of the rare book, ephemera, and archives markets in the Internet age.

Today the Antiquarian Book Seminar Foundation (the parent organization of CABS-Minnesota) is the nonprofit that plans and runs the seminar, offers annual scholarships, and administers the Diverse Voices Fellowship. Nearly 3000 students have graduated from the seminar since its inception and many CABS alums have gone on to become prominent members of the bookselling community. Please consider supporting the mission of the ABSF and CABS-Minnesota, and join us in helping the rare book trade evolve and thrive.