Scholarships for Members

CABS books

General Information

IOBA offers up to four scholarships each year so members can continue their education and professional development. Scholarships are awarded without regard to current level of accomplishment, financial need, full- or part-time bookseller status, or length of time in the book trade. IOBA is committed to the belief that every well-educated, well-informed, and ethical bookseller is a credit to the trade and to our organization, and we consider these scholarships to be our investment in the future of bookselling.

These scholarships are available to any current IOBA member in good standing, excluding members of the Scholarship Committee and current Officers. Prospective members who are currently participating in the mentorship program are also eligible to apply, if approved by their mentor.

At least one scholarship is specifically reserved for the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS). CABS is an intensive program on all aspects of bookselling which is now held on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, USA for one week each summer.

A second scholarship is typically restricted to the York Antiquarian Book Seminar (YABS), held in York, England. YABS is a three-day intensive seminar modeled after CABS but tailored for booksellers in the UK. However, as YABS will not be in session in 2020, (picking up again in 2021), this scholarship, restricted to only non-USA IOBA members, may be used as an open scholarship for either CABS or for any one of these other opportunities:

–Rare Book School (RBS, Charlottesville, VA, USA). RBS courses focus on specific aspects of book history, bibliography, printing and book arts. Most of these week-long courses are offered in the summer in Charlottesville, but others are offered at other venues around the East Coast and at other times of the year.

–California Rare Book School (CALRBS, various locations in CA, USA). CALRBS courses are also similarly focused and are week-long courses covering a broad range of topics, from the history, identification and preservation of motion picture materials to the history of typography.

–London Rare Books School (LRBS). Two week-long intensive sessions on specific topics about antiquarian material are offered each summer at the University of London, England. Courses have included A History of Maps and Mapping, The Medieval Book, and Children’s Books.

There will also be two additional scholarships open to all eligible IOBA members for any of the schools listed above.

Each Scholarship covers up to $1650USD towards tuition and expenses plus any non North-American winners who attend a school in the USA will receive an additional $500 travel stipend.

The CABS and YABS scholarships must be used in the year in which they are awarded. In order to allow time for the LRBS, RBS and CALRBS admissions process, a scholarship awarded to one of these schools is valid until December 31 of the year following the one in which the scholarship is awarded.
How to Apply:

1) Provide a one page description of your business that includes the following details:
a) What is your business name?
b) How long have you been selling books?
c) How long have you been a member of IOBA?
d) Which program do you want to attend? Please let us know if you only wish to be considered for the open scholarship.
e) Please provide correct working URLs to your website and/or to other websites where you are currently selling books.
f) Do you have an open shop, exhibit at book fairs, or sell at other venues? If so, please provide details.

2) Write an essay of up to two pages about why you wish to attend. Due to the nature of IOBA and online bookselling, relatively few of us have met one another in person, so think of this as your opportunity to introduce yourself to the Committee and convince us to award you a scholarship. What is your educational and professional background? Why are you a bookseller? Are you involved in volunteer work in the community or the trade? What are your accomplishments? Your shortcomings? Your goals in bookselling?

3) Submit one letter of recommendation written by a bookseller colleague. It can be written by anyone in the trade, except those who are either IOBA officers or members of the Scholarship Committee. The recommending seller need not be an IOBA member.

4) Completed entries must be received via email no later than Monday, April 20, 2020. Applications and letters of recommendation should be addressed to: Please include “IOBA scholarship application” in the subject header of all emails. The winner or winners will be chosen by the IOBA Scholarship Committee, and will be notified by telephone and by email by May 1, 2020.

Best of luck to all!