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Re: [BKARTS] AIC stuff

While I agree with the sentiment (and the root of the debate/issue), I
don't think the chip on shoulder response is going to be terribly helpful.

AIC as a national body has been pursuing an aggressive tack (and this need
not be a negative thing) in organizing the profession, helping provide
educational opportunities, and promoting the profession. That they would be
promoting their own agenda in this process is a given.

Those who feel that the non-program trained, i.e. apprentice and otherwise
trained, are getting the short shrift are in large parts right in that
assumption. In contrast to AIC (and other "professional" bodies) we have
failed to actively, pro-actively, and positively make our case in an
organized collective manner. To the outside we can easily appear as a bunch
of disharmonious voices in the wilderness, and that's not because we don't
have a case.

In order for the debate to be meaningful we need to present a clear case
for our training, continuing education, professional development, and
professionalism in general. Who are we, where do we want to be and how do
we see ourselves as a profession?

There are numerous positive aspects to what AIC and others are trying to do
by raising some of these issues. There are also numerous troubling aspects,
especially for those of us not program trained. Apprenticeship can be a
very formal process, it certainly was for me. In addition, we take
advantage of continuing education opportunities, we offer them, we
contribute to the body of knowledge, we are involved in outreach, we make a

Instead of complaining, let's try to present a coherent, positive response
and then work together. There are many apprentice trained colleagues who
support AIC's initiatives and are actively involved in that organization.
Ultimately I think we will find that we are in agreement on many of the
core issues.

Let's also remember that the field continues to evolve, that different
bodies of knowledge are increasingly required. It's the same for almost any
profession. A bachelor's (BA) degree today is pretty much the same as a
high-school diploma was 25 years ago. It's a baseline. Let's also be
reasonable and accept that many of our older colleagues may not have that
BA, but have a great wealth of knowledge and skill which needs to be passed
on, or it will be lost. In the book field I'm thinking of such things as

So, where do we go from here? How do we present ourselves better? What are
the "real" core issues?

Peter Verheyen (apprentice trained)
Donia Conn (program trained)


Amen!   Snobbery has again reared its ugly head and pronounced that the AIC
and their ilk are the only ones with the right to consider themselves
book conservators/restorationists. It would be comical; were it not for the
fact that many people are naive enough to believe them.

Ed Stansell


Peter D. Verheyen
Bookbinder & Conservator
The Book Arts Web & Book_Arts-L Listserv

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