This year marks the 30th Antiquarian book fair in the Twin Cities. While we are keeping in tune with our regular fair standards — knowledgable book dealers, high-quality items, and a passion for all bibliophiles — we have some important news: We’ve moved locations!
The 2020 fair will be held on July 10th and July 11th (see times on our about page) at the Schoenecker Arena on the stunning University of St. Thomas Campus in St. Paul, Minnesota. Details around parking, admission costs, and event times are all posted on our about page.
We’re so glad to celebrate 30 years of preserving history through print. So come out this summer and celebrate with us on the University of St. Thomas campus!
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By the Twin Cities Antiquarian and Rare Book Fair Manager
Five years ago, the Twin Cities Book Fair was the first book fair at which I exhibited. I had no idea what to expect as an exhibitor. Would anyone talk to me? Were the other book dealers friendly? Were the books I brought good enough?
I am pleased to say that the other dealers were indeed friendly, though five years later I am still not sure if the books I bring to the fair are the right ones.
This book fair holds a special place in my heart because I consider it to be the one which started my bookselling career. Thanks to this fair, I began to make contacts in the trade. These contacts would go on to become friends, who would go on to become voices of support in other book endeavors. Thanks to the Twin Cities book community, I have worked in an open shop (shout-out to Bookhouse in Dinkytown!), in a specialized antiquarian firm, and I have mingled with some of the greatest book artists in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
This fair taught me the importance of showing up, and engaging with your passions in real time. The book trade is a face-forward one. Your personal connections will help you establish your place in whatever book community you belong to, whether it is Minneapolis, Madison, or Chicago. One event leads to another which leads to another which leads to another opportunity.
If you are a collector or a librarian, I highly urge you to show up in person too. Book fairs are a chance for you to evaluate the people from whom you are buying books. A book fair is your chance to sit with them, face to face, and to explain your curating or collecting priorities. The chance to see their stock in person will help you feel confident in ordering from them online, should you later find a book on their website that was not at a book fair.
Even though the internet puts the book world at your fingertips, the importance of local events has not been undercut. A book fair can show you not only the dealers of rare books in your area, but the current book artists, publishers, open bookshops, libraries, and literary collectives that exist near you. No, arts communities do not only exist in New York and L.A. It is up to you as a member of the book-loving public to go to events like book fairs and literary festivals near you. These events can illuminate other opportunities for you to participate in other book culture and book appreciation events right in your own backyard.
Here is a list of book organizations in the Twin Cities that would be of interest to book and print lovers. I have taken the blurbs from each website’s home page, to better explain why you as a book lover in Minneapolis should check these organizations out:
The Ampersand Club fosters appreciation for the historic and artistic importance of the printed book, and for the arts essential to book production, such as typography, fine printing, binding, papermaking and book design. With monthly events, any book collector, book dealer, or book artist can join and engage with a group of passionate bibliophiles from the Twin Cities.
Founded in 1983, Minnesota Center for Book Arts is a nonprofit visual arts center that celebrates the art of the book. We practice letterpress printing, bookbinding, hand papermaking, paper marbling, and more! We offer youth and adult classes, numerous exhibitions annually, and opportunities for artists of all levels.
The Loft (offers numerous literary events/classes)
Founded in 1974, the Loft is a haven for readers and writers; one of the largest centers of its kind in the country. Our mission is to advance the artistic development of writers, foster a thriving literary community, and inspire a passion for literature.
Minnesota’s largest celebration of readers, writers, and great books. This year the festival will be held on May 9, 2020, and is a great chance to engage with the new literary publications and the local presses of the Twin Cities.
The Twin Cities Rare and Antiquarian Book Fair
July 10th 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., July 11th 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out this fair for the rare book side of the Twin Cities book scene!
Still haven’t registered for the fair yet? There’s still time! Click here to access the contract. Click here to buy a ticket to the Twin Cities fair.
Are you planning on exhibiting at the book fair this year? Have you attended the fair in the past? Tell us what 30 years of the Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair mean to you! If you would like to guest post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a draft.