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Frankfurt Book Fair

A quick tour of my trip

NEW: Frankfurt 2017 Symposium

New Directions for Libraries, Scholars, and Partnerships: an International Symposium

Date - Friday, October 13, 2017
Time - 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Central European Time
Location -  Frankfurt, Germany
Contact Judy Alspach - sends e-mail)

What challenges confront 21st- century research libraries in Europe and North America? How can libraries more deeply engage and support scholars throughout the full life cycle of learning, digital scholarship, and interdisciplinary research partnerships?  How can libraries maintain excellence in both services and collections across a multiplicity of formats? How might regional or transnational institutional and professional alliances forge agile, sustainable collaborations to aid in this work?

These questions will be addressed at a Symposium, New Directions for Libraries, Scholars, and Partnerships, to take place on Friday, October 13, 2017, at the German National Library during the Frankfurt Book Fair.  Anticipated session topics include: collections and collaboration; digital scholarship; the publishing revolution; new dimensions of service to scholars and students; and new strategies for services and partnerships.

Since France will be the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2017, this is a unique opportunity for librarians and information professionals from France, Germany, North America and beyond to come together, share perspectives, and learn from leaders and colleagues. Symposium organizers are planning other activities in collaboration with local cultural institutions, universities, and libraries. In coordination with the Book Fair (October 11-15) there will be many additional events in Frankfurt celebrating France, French culture, and publishing.

The Symposium is sponsored by the Collaborative Initiative for French Language Collections (CIFNAL) and the German-North American Resources Partnership (GNARP), both working projects of the Center for Research Libraries (Chicago, USA), with support from the German National Library and other French, German, and international partners.

NEW: 2017 Frankfurt Symposium

Join us for the 2017 Frankfurt Symposium

New Directions for Libraries, Scholars, and Partnerships: an International Symposium

Date: Friday, October 13, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Central European Time
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Contact: Judy Alspach - sends e-mail)

More information: 

History of the Book Fair

The 2008 fair drew a record number of visitors: 299 112 visitors at last count. The history of the fair is well documented

“The history of the Frankfurt Book Fair dates back to the 15th century, when Johannes Gutenberg first invented movable type – only a few kilometres down the road from Frankfurt. Frankfurt remained the central and undisputed European book fair city through to the 17th century. In the course of political and cultural upheaval, in the 18th century Leipzig then came to play the part. In 1949, that early Frankfurt book fair tradition was given a new lease of life: 205 German exhibitors assembled on Sept. 18-23 in Frankfurt's Paulskirche for the first post-War book fair.” (quoted from the official site of the  Frankfurter Buchmesse).

Why the Fair is a Must for Librarians:

As the selector of Western European materials I sift through a large volume of new acquisitions title announcements every month. I have close working relationships with each of the academic departments I serve, and  I make decisions based on Duke University faculty feedback about ongoing research and teaching activities of the faculty, students, departments and centers. I consult with Duke Libraries acquisitions specialists and other Duke subject librarians. I also consider the historic strengths of our collections, and I work collaboratively on collection development with libraries in the Triangle Research Libraries Network.

Duke works with large European vendors (Harrassowitz, Casalini, Aux Amateurs, Touzot…) who pre-select publications of interest to American Academic Libraries. Anecdotally, a vendor for Germanic materials would consider 30,000 out of 80,000 publications in the first round of selection, and they would reduce that number down to around 10,000 academic titles across the disciplines. I select from this vendor database of preselected items and from individual publishers with programs of particular interest. The visit to the Frankfurter Book Fair provides me with an amazing opportunity to immerse myself in the ongoing cultural and political debates in Europe, and to interact first hand with a representative set of the larger and smaller publishers. It is of great importance to see the full spectrum of publications, from the trivial and popular to the most academic  because I gain a perspective that helps me articulate a collection policy for my Duke constituents. The fair usually draws over 7,000 exhibitors, and while the large companies come every year, the new, independent and smaller publishers with booths at the fair vary from year to year.

Bookfair 2013


Exhibit Halls