Frankfurter Buchmesse Several WESS members just returned from the Frankfurt Book Fair. They wish to share some thoughts about their experiences. More detailed accounts about the trip will be forthcoming:
Gordon Anderson: The Frankfurter Buchmesse plays many roles, the most important of which are the promotion of the German (and German-speaking) book trade to the world and the advocacy of literacy, reading, intellectual communication and the free flow of ideas and information around the world. We WESS librarians are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit as a group this important event and to meet with leaders and practitioners in the German book trade and libraries. Perhaps this kind of project can be pursued in another region of Western Europe in the years to come.
Helene Baumann: The German cultural environment, while often fascinating, became secondary to the delight of sharing it with like-minded colleagues from across the nation.
Jeffrey Garrett: Who cares about the rain when we're together? At least there's a roof over the book fair!
Chris Germino: A superbly planned and executed opportunity to absorb enormous quantities of information about the international book trade, German libraries, and local culture with a wonderfully congenial group of colleagues.
Stephen Lehmann: Bookmark days and shot glass days.
Erika Linke: The Frankfurt Book Fair has been a fruitful and worthwhile experience-the books, the media, publishing and publishers, the exhibits, the libraries, the archives, and last but not least, meeting old friends and making new ones.
Marianna McKim: Discussions about everything from electronic resource pricing to public service were memorable not just for the invaluable exchange among colleagues from both countries, but also for their settings: the S-Bahn in Frankfurt, walking through the rain to a castle, over breakfast in the Hotelschiff, and during dinner in a Gasthaus in the Odenwald hills!
James Niessen: The Book Fair is great for learning about publishers whom you would not find at the ALA conferences. Many will sit you down at their stands to tell you about their books, and get you a coffee if their booksellers' association stand is nearby. The big German libraries are making impressive strides in digitization. But the endusers' access to databases and Internet is a mixed bag, and we heard a lot about personnel cuts and a shortage of funds.
Mike Olson: Messe Schmesse.
Marcia Pankake: Among the treasures Jochen Stollberg showed in the Archivzentrum of the Stadt- and Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt was the book in which Schopenhauer, ever critical of other writers, wrote, "Wind, nothing but wind."
Henry Pisciotta: The people we met (publishers, vendors, librarians, historians, administrators, organists, and the rest) all placed a high value in meeting people and understanding them. Developing that form of trust that comes from knowing someone. Knowledge beyond what can be obtained from our wonderful virtual communications.
Marje Schuetze-Coburn: A whirlwind of gracious hosts, unique library collections and archives, vast numbers of books and publishers beyond one's wildest imagination, the colors and flavors of fall, and wonderful colleagues ... just a few things that come to mind.
Barbara Walden: From the Umbrian regional publishers - to the German Colonial Archives. Just a short ride on the U-Bahn...