From rare collectibles worth thousands to used paperbacks going for a couple of bucks a pop, this weekend’s Twin Cities Rare and Antiquarian Book Fair at the State Fairgrounds looks promising. It’s the largest rare book show in the Upper Midwest, and this year there will be more than 60 stalls of books to browse: “Americana, regional and Minnesota history, travel, railroading, children’s and science, technology and cooking… first editions and one-of-a-kind bindings, ephemera and first editions.”
In addition to the book fair, organizers have partnered with the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) to present a series of presentations for all manner of bibliophiles: from the basics of appraisal and collecting to more specific topics, like building a library of gardening or culinary books; I know my eye immediately went to the wonderfully arcane talk on “why dust jackets matter.” MNHS Acquisitions Librarian Patrick Coleman, in particular, will lead a discussion on the “ABCs of Book Collecting.” As the guy who manages the world’s largest collection of books by and about Minnesotans (not to mention his duties as compiler of the Society’s invaluable and idiosyncratic list, The 150 Best Minnesota Books), his presentation seems particularly worth seeking out.
If you can’t make his presentation at the book fair, Coleman will also be on hand at the new SubText bookstore (below Nina’s Coffee Café) tonight at 7 p.m. as a prelude to the weekend’s festivities, ready to talk about his own favorite Minnesota books, the “150 best of” project, the basics of collecting and appraisal, and any other bookish topics that might arise.
The 22nd Annual Twin Cities Rare and Antiquarian Book Fair, presented with the Minnesota Historical Society, runs Friday, June 29 (4-9 pm) and Saturday, June 30 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.); the fair and all related events will be in the Progress Building at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1621 Randall Avenue, St. Paul. Admission is $7 on Friday and $5 on Saturday, or $7 to attend both days. Find the Society’s various presentation times/details here: events.mnhs.org/media/news/release.cfm?ID=2313