"Every so often, a journalist discovers that people use very odd things for bookmarks and librarians and booksellers find them. Here's the latest one.
"What is the cheesiest book you’ve ever read? For Washington DC librarian Anna Holmes, it wasn’t so much the book, as the slice of Kraft American that she found inside it, clearly used by a cheese-loving patron as a bookmark. "
A recent reminder of a trip to Paris a few years ago led me to review photographs of bookmarks found in art works in the Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge. While I knew that paintings of this period often showed books with several styles of medieval bookmarks, I was surprised to notice the first one and then began to look for more. Now, anytime I see a book in a work of art, I look closely to see if there is an accompanying bookmark. We have other examples in our Gallery pages. Share with us any examples you have found.
Now that the dust has settled on the second annual World Bookmark Day, I want to reflect on what I learned by organizing the celebration. Frankly, I was worried that this year’s Woboda would fall flat without Asim’s network of supporters, design skill and boundless enthusiasm. The preparations for 2017’s Woboda started almost a year in advance, and January 2018 was really the start for this year. I decided to scale back some of the activities out of necessity and lack of time. Asim, our founder, was able to offer prizes from his bookmark business for the contests such as an article or limerick, but we had nothing to offer this time so those events were eliminated. Would it be possible to generate interest in printable designs and the raffle, both of which were popular last year? I decided to ask two friends who are artists/illustrators with connections to books and reading, and was thrilled when they both agreed to contribute designs. That was the beginning, and then I realized there were other people in my network who might contribute. Sarah Bodman, organizer of the Bookmark Project at the University of the West of England, put me in touch with several artists who contributed designs, and Robin Blum, owner of In My Book, kindly donated some of her wonderful bookmark greeting cards. Our local Bookmark Bookstore not only donated bookmarks found in their donated books but also agreed to host a display. In the end, we had 705 bookmarks contributed or donated, 13 printable designs, and 9 entrants in the raffle. Smaller than last year but still quite respectable!
So what did I learn and what changes might happen for next year?
Planning: First and most obvious is to start planning much earlier, perhaps August or September. I don’t think it is necessary to plan the entire year, but certainly a few months’ notice to all participants makes sense to encourage participation.
Publicity: Besides the IFOB web site, we use other means to bring attention to the event.
Social media: At the suggestion of a member, I started a Facebook page for IFOB which did seem to bring in some additional interest and made it possible for people to keep up with progress on the raffle and comment. It wasn’t too much extra effort to keep up with this, so I will probably do it again. However, I am thinking of keeping the page just for Woboda and possibly starting a Facebook group for IFOB. More on that later, now that I better understand how to use pages vs. groups. Are there other social media platforms that are good for publicizing the event?
Graphics: Last year, Asim created some fun graphics that could be posted on other web sites or printed. Without access to design skills, we didn’t have that option this time, although Rosemarie Abel kindly helped update Wobo. I am still hoping someone will volunteer to create simple graphics for IFOB on occasion. Everything nowadays is so visual that we need to use eye catching designs whenever possible.
Donors/Sponsors: More time to cultivate donors of prizes, raffle contributions or sponsors who might provide funds would be valuable, and I would welcome any suggestions for who to contact.
Designers of printable bookmarks: While we had a couple of people repeat from last year, I anticipate that the same people will not participate every year. How could we identify others who would contribute designs? Do our members know other artists and designers they could ask? Another question is whether we should always put the current year on these bookmarks or create generic Woboda text that could be used every year?
Activities with prizes: If we are able to find donors or sponsors for prizes, should we reinstate the Woboda article and limerick contests? Anything else?
Wobo and Woboda bookmarks around the world: We had only a few people who shared photos of either Wobo, the traveling bookmark or Woboda designs in interesting places around the world. Is this activity worth continuing? Should we offer a prize for the best photo?
Local events: Some members indicated they would like to work with local libraries, bookstores or cafes next year for displays, giveaways or other events. Is there anything we could do to help with these? For example, I could post downloadable versions of the display materials I used.
Raffle: Most of the effort went toward coordinating this activity, which raises several questions.
Our goal in establishing World Bookmark Day was to bring attention to bookmarks as a useful, beautiful and interesting companion to books and reading. People are often surprised to hear about bookmark collectors, but when they stop and think, they realize it is not so unusual and can be quite interesting. From my perspective, we are making progress in realizing our goal as more people become informed and involved. It was really fun for me to interact with them, see the different bookmarks and designs, and get to know some of our members a little better. Most grateful thanks go to all who participated, donated, and contributed! I invite members and anyone to comment on this year’s celebration and ideas for making next year even better. --Laine, IFOB co-editor
We learned about an exciting bookmark contest offering book prizes from Edoardo Bona who says:" I am the manager of a small library in a small Italian village. For 10 years we have organized a bookmarks contest that is having more and more success (2500 bookmarks in 2017) . We have had participants from many foreign countries too (USA, Madagascar, France, Germany, Turkey, Philippines). For this reason I am sending e-mail to collectors, libraries and Institutions that organize or have organized competitions bookmarks hoping that they can help us to share the contest." Check here for the contest rules in English. The web site has a wonderful quote: "It may surprise you that a library would promote reading through an unusual means such as a bookmark rather than through lectures, readings and book presentations. Yet the bookmark is a wonderful symbol of the joy of reading: it is the travel ticket that accompanies you through the pages of a book; it is the proof of your pleasure to hold in your hand a book, to browse it, to read it, to feel it your own."
With the kind permission of The Bookmark Society's Joint Editor, Sylvia Bunting, here is the lovely tribute that appeared in the printed July 2017 Issue 28 of TBS News:
Those who have had contact with Asim Maner in one of his many roles, will be sorry to hear that he died unexpectedly a few weeks ago The bookmark world will miss him greatly.
Asim's primary business, under the name of Mirage, was the manufacturer of bookmarks--striking designs in etched metal and in card. Members will recall the 25th anniversary bookmark which he created for T B S last year. But bookmarks were far more than a business to him. He researched and produced both a book on early French bookmarks and a scholarly article tracing the earliest known bookmarks, from the binding of early codices in the first few centuries CE, to mediaeval bookmarks pre-1500.
The article was published via IFOB, yet another brainchild of Asim's. Realising the lack of a truly international gathering point for those interested in collecting or handling bookmarks, he created the website-based International Friends of Bookmarks. Here there are facilities to showcase, discuss and swap bookmarks, and this was the springboard from which he instituted the first International Bookmark Day in February. The Bookmark Society also benefited from the publicity and contact links on the IFOB website.
Asim was enthusiastic, creative and scrupulous in acknowledging those who helped him. He spread not only information but enthusiasm. We do not know as yet how much of his work can be carried on, but what he has already put in place constitutes a unique contribution to our awareness of bookmarks.
We send our sympathy to Asim's wife Effi and to his family.
Collection of well over 1000 bookmarks including both simple modern publishers’ advertising bookmarks and more valuable vintage items, some silk and woven (mainly from 1895 – 1940), from many countries, (United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria) in very good condition. A few can be viewed on the Mirage Bookmark site but note those that have already been sold (those not sold are included). Asim’s family is also happy for anyone interested and able to come and view the collection personally. They would like to sell the collection as a whole, rather than individual items or batches. The family is willing to receive offers for the collection, and have set the end of September as a preliminary deadline. Shipping costs and payment method will depend on the buyer's location and type of packaging needed. Contact email address: maner [at] gmx.ch with questions or to make an offer.
\You may have noticed that there has been hardly any activity on the IFOB-website or you are maybe wondering why you got no reaction from Asim. There is a simple but very sad reason for all this: on the third of June, Asim's daughter Jenny informed us that Asim had passed away quite unexpectedly and suddenly during their holiday at Sardinia.
Asim and Evi, his wife, were at the beginning of a new period of their life after the retiring of Evi from her teaching job. The trip to Sardinia should have been only the beginning! They did enjoy their stay at Sardinia--the sea all around, brilliant weather, nice villages and unspoiled nature. They might have crossed even the footsteps of Napoleon at this isle. Too sad and cruel that the sudden death of Asim ended all expectations.
Our sincere condolences have gone to Evi and her two daughters, wishing them much strength and courage for the hard times to come. They have lost a remarkable husband and father who was also very important for the community of bookmark collectors all over the world, full of energy and creativity, with a million ideas for the future. The kind thoughts of many IFOB-members will be with Asim.
Laine Farley is looking for possibilities to continue the IFOB-website, at least some parts of it, and I will try to assist her. Please follow the news on the website.
Sorry for the bad news,
Regards, Georg Hartong
I would like to add to Georg’s message my own condolences to Asim’s family. This web site and the idea of an online forum for international bookmark collectors was his vision, and he fulfilled it not only with enthusiasm but also with much generosity to me as a co-editor and to the entire community. Asim was also very creative in the work his company did to create beautiful bookmarks. Only recently, he completed a series of six bookmarks based on the works of Claude Monet in conjunction with an exhibition at the Foundation Beyeler. I wanted to mention them in the last newsletter, but Asim did not want to mix his business with the web site. He always demonstrated integrity in all matters concerning IFOB. He was full of plans and ideas, even as he was anticipating the changes resulting from his wife’s retirement. All of that makes it even more difficult to comprehend his sudden death.
Although we have lost our leader, a fellow collector, and a friend, Georg and I hope to honor Asim’s dream to encourage bookmark collectors worldwide to communicate, share, exchange and learn about bookmarks. We will be posting soon about changes and plans that are in the works. It may take us a little while to sort out the various components and activities of the web site, so we ask for your patience.
As some of you know, Asim had begun to sell some of his collection. He daughter, Jenny, would like to sell the entire collection, and we will post more information about that shortly.
by Laine Farley
There are many reasons why someone may consider retiring a bookmark collection, even one that has been lovingly developed over a long period of time. As people change their circumstances, it may no longer be possible to sustain and store a collection, or perhaps the urge to collect simply wanes over time. Another common reason is that the collection is inherited from a relative and the person who becomes responsible for it does not wish to continue the collection. Here are some initial considerations for what to do with a collection. We would like to hear your thoughts and experiences as well, and eventually we will turn this into an article.
First, the decision to sell or donate it must be addressed. This course is not an all or nothing one, however. It may be reasonable to keep some parts of the collection, sell especially valuable or noteworthy items, and donate the rest. Each collection is unique as are owners’ motivations.
If you want to sell it:
- Whole collection: depending on the size, you might want to offer it to an auction site if it is large and significant enough to warrant their attention. Auction houses that deal in paper ephemera might be good candidates. Ephemera dealers are another possible source.
- Batches: Sometimes collections are broken up and sold in batches on sites like eBay or Etsy. These batches can be grouped thematically (e.g., similar material, subject matter, age). There are agents or “valets” who will handle sales for you and they take a percentage of the sales price. Again, looking for someone who knows or deals in ephemera would be a starting point.
- Individual bookmarks: If you have pieces that are especially rare or valuable, it could be worth it to offer them separately. Similarly, an agent could handle it but you might have a better sense of relative value or what you would consider the minimum acceptable price which should be made clear to an agent.
- Whatever method you choose, it is probably a good idea to have some kind of intermediary rather than trying to sell it directly. This arrangement protects both you and the buyer. The International Friends of Bookmarks (IFOB) members are an audience that would probably like to know about the collection, but IFOB is not really set up to be a site for selling.
If you want to donate it:
Some libraries specialize in collecting ephemera, and there are even a few that have bookmark collections such as the University of Iowa. If your collection has many items from a particular area (businesses, bookstores, museums, etc.), it may be possible that a local library or historical museum would be interested. People often assume that the largest libraries like New York Public or even Library of Congress (or national libraries in other countries) are the best choices, but they get so many donations that they may not be. It could be better to find a library with an interest in the type of collection, a local interest, or some other tie. If it is important to you that your collection be exhibited, a smaller library or museum is more likely to do so.
In preparing to contact institutions who might take the collection, consider the following steps:
1. How much: Count the collection or at least have an estimated number of items. The next best approach is to have a description of the extent, e.g., the number of boxes, binders or whatever they are stored in.
2. Context: Make a list of any publications or descriptions or even your own notes about the collection. Have you ever exhibited it, have articles been written about it by you or others, have you ever made a presentation about it? Anything that showcases the collection, no matter how insignificant it may seem, will be of interest to the institution.
3. About the collector: Compile a biography of the collector. Libraries and museums want to provide context for the collection and provenance or history of its development. Anything you can say about how you started the collection, how you went about adding to it, any special interests, would be good additions. If you write this up, also consider sending it to IFOB since we like to publish short articles about collectors and their collections.
4. Photos: provide a set of any images you have on a storage device (e.g., USB drive, CD, etc.) that you can give to the institution. You might also take a few photos of groups or types as another way to give a sense of the size and scope. If you have posted photos to any sort of social media site, provide access to that if possible.
5. References: Other collectors could probably look at photos or other materials and be able to say more about the quality of the collection in a letter of reference. If you have ever talked about or exhibited the collection, whoever sponsored it would be a good reference.
6. Agreement: Libraries and museums will have their own agreements for accepting donations, but you can think about the terms you want as well. Is there anything related to the collections for which you want to claim copyright (e.g., articles, images)? Do you want to impose any conditions on use of the collection in publications by others? Do you want to require that it be exhibited in a certain way or frequency? What kind of credit or recognition do you wish to receive? To what extent are you willing to negotiate any of these requests if they are not part of the standard agreement?
Libraries and museums will be more willing to consider collections that complement those they already have, but also if the collections are organized, stored in reasonably good condition, and documented. The cost to them is in the processing. Usually they will create a "finding aid" which is a high level description of the collection and the collector. Here is an example for the collection of Don Baldwin at the University of Iowa. For important collections, they will go into more detail and describe the contents of each container. Here is an example of the collection of Frank X. Roberts whose collection includes his poetry and other writings, plus some materials from his wife. They must also put the collection into acid free boxes, sleeves, or binders, another expense. It's not required but they very much appreciate donations to cover at least some of these costs.
Finally, there is the issue of transporting the collection, whether you choose to sell or donate it. Of course, the best option is to transport it in person to ensure that it reaches its destination without damage. If this method is not practical, at a minimum the transport should be tracked through postal or delivery services, and possibly insured. The packaging will depend on the nature of the collection, and it may be advisable to break it up into several packages. There are many other considerations for transporting it that will be specific to the situation.
Whatever you choose to do with your collection, the most important thing is meeting your own goals for how you would like to retire the collection or its components. Whether you wish to preserve it as a collection to be studied and exhibited, make it available to other collectors, benefit from the sale, or simply get rid of it in the most expeditious way possible, there is no single or “right” way to bring your collection to a close.
Please do share your experiences and thoughts about this stage of collecting.
by Keti Gabaitze
Keti is a 15 year old student and nascent artist from Georgia who loves to draw as a hobby and also likes to read books a lot. Recently, as she had to create a project at school she came up with the idea to connect her hobby with her reading passion and to produce illustrated bookmarks matching popular books. Let's hear what Keti has to tell about her project and it's outgrowths after she has finished it.
Mark the Book
What do you think about bookmarks? Personally for me and for the readers generally, bookmarks are important accessories. They are interesting, functional and beautiful. My hobbies are drawing and designing, therefore, I decided to make a project about bookmarks called “Mark the Book”. The aim of the project was to create bookmarks from different popular books among my generation such as: Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby, The Devil Wears Prada, The Mortal Instruments, Sherlock Holmes, The Little Prince, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Pride and Prejudice. The bookmarks were created with my own illustrations and on the back side they had quotes from these specific books.
After I had the bookmarks ready, it was time to show it to society and prove that even nowadays bookmarks can be fun, interesting, beautiful and trendy. At that stage, I came across the website of International Friends of Bookmarks (IFOB) and saw that some artists and several people had submitted free downloadable bookmarks to promote the very first World Bookmark Day (Woboda). It was easy for me to contribute some bookmarks for this event, I just had to replace the title of the book on the bottom of my bookmarks with the wording and date of Woboda.
Bookmarks I have submitted to IFOB for the promotion of the World Bookmark Day
Later, I decided to distribute some of my new bookmarks in the local city library, mostly to teenagers and younger generation people, because the books I created bookmarks about are popular among them. I also left some copies in a local bookshop, so people could buy them and I sold them at school as well. I got positive feedback, people liked bookmarks and they were sold really fast. With collected money at school, I bought some books and took part in a project in which the city library was collecting books and delivering them to small libraries within the country.
In conclusion, with this project I didn’t just create the bookmarks but I also took part in popularizing them among society, I showed them the importance and the role of bookmarks and that they have to pay attention to bookmarks, and I also helped society and delivered some books to the library.
We from International Friends of Bookmarks (IFOB) wish to congratulate Keti for her wonderful project and to thank Keti for her contribution to our project World Bookmark Day. Keti's project shows how bookmarks can be a employed in a creative way to spark enthusiasm and can be messengers of messages over the borders of countries.
19 March 2017 Asim Maner, webmaster
by Ana Matos
Hi, I’m Ana from Portugal and currently producing custom and handmade bookmarks under the name CraftsforYou.
Before talking about the work that I do and the types of bookmarks that I create, I want to share a little bit about my experience with books. Last Christmas I had a flashback about those times when buying a book was rare and receiving one was amazing. I had a lot of books in my school backpack but few, for leisure times, on my shelf. Back then having a book was so precious that I used to read the same book more than once during summer vacations. Later, in university, I had a lot of technical books to study asap and still no money (as a typical broke student) to buy and add books to my library, or should I say shelf. Fortunately, between friends, we would trade books which was a good solution and a way of increasing the sense of responsibility for shared things. I treated the books with care and tried to read them fast to give them back. But with my own (few) books I didn’t use such exemplary treatment. I used to underline the text and bend the corners of the pages – no bookmarks in my vocabulary! I feel so ashamed! Last week I was picking some books to give away for charity and again revisited my horrible crimes. Underlining was a bad habit I got from school, to facilitate studying and concentration.
Things are different now. I have books all around me, use bookmarks (paper and my own handmade) and have never bought so many books as before. They are still expensive in Portugal, at least for us, but now there’s more competition and so more good deals. Despite all you can see that books are special to me but the start of creating bookmarks didn’t arise from that - it was not at all premeditated.
In the end of 2015, before Christmas, I decided to reproduce some simple bracelets I saw on Etsy, so I bought materials but encountered so many cute charms that I ended up buying more than needed. The bracelets didn’t attract much attention, although now and then people still order. One day my other half was thinking about a present for a cousin and asked if I could do something with my materials. The person in question liked books, so why not a bookmark? Later I searched on Google to see if there was something that seemed like our ideas and there it was: bookmarks in cord, leather, etc.. So I made one and a few days later selected charms, and other stuff I had, and made a bunch of bookmarks. I posted on Facebook with friends and they bought as Christmas gifts. I really enjoyed the results and people buying more than one item to give. Like I usually say, money shouldn’t be a reason for not giving a present to someone. That was not the case because they were affordable, and still are (LOL), and above all I was spreading my handmade items, and so my dedication/energy. That is a lovely feeling, believe me. Am I forgiven for my crimes now that I do cosy bookmarks?
After Christmas time I started to have requests to make custom bookmarks. A client showed me book covers and asked me to do specific pieces. So that’s how it all continued.
In the last year I have been producing three types of bookmarks: custom with faux suede cord, zen and cork bookmarks. Along with these materials I use charms, pendants, stones and crystals, things I pick from mother nature, and sometimes things customers send me to re-use or because it has a special value to them.
Custom bookmarks usually are made in faux suede cord so it can match the colours of the book cover.
Zen bookmarks are the ones where I incorporate crystals, stones and charms related to zen, spiritual and healing vibes. For this type of book marker there’s also a partnership with an online store that sells stones and crystals – Prenda Natural. They choose these last parts and the rest is pretty much up to me. We have created a unique style and for now they are selling these pieces exclusively.
The last type I'm assembling are the bookmarks made in cork. Portugal is a leading country in exporting cork, so how come I did not have this idea before? These [bookmarks] don’t need to match the book cover colours. People just have to choose the combination of charms they prefer or ask for a specific one. I hope cork bookmarks one day become a vintage item, like some old and exclusive bookmarks IFOB members have been sharing.
There’s a world out there of people like me creating bookmarks or even doing for themselves, because there’s no limits when it comes to imagination and materials to use. And who ever likes books likes to accessorize them to enrich the entire experience of reading. Because picking a book, contemplating the cover, smelling the paper and diving in the story is a sensory experience I don’t intend to switch entirely to ebooks. Besides, how could I use my bookmarks in this case?!
Bookmarkly yours ;)
My website: http://crafts-for-you.site123.me