"...to promote ethical standards and professionalism in the antiquarian book trade, to encourage the collecting and preservation of rare and antiquarian books and related materials..."
Beyond promoting passion for antiquarian books, the ABAA helps bibliophiles in other ways. Along with the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division (the Library of Congress), the ABAA has taken on the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which aims to stoke the fires of passion for book collection in college and university students by holding competitions at over 36 institutions across America. The contest was founded in 2005 by Fine Books & Collections Magazine. See the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest ABAA information page for details.
One excellent initiative is The Antiquarian Bookseller's Benevolent Fund, which essentially exists to provide financial assistance to a bookseller in need, whether ABAA member or not. Originally titled The Charles Grand Memorial Fund, it was founded in 1952 "for the assistance of needy persons, regardless of affiliation, who are or have been engaged in the business of selling and dealing in books, manuscripts, and printed matter in general," and annually provides an average of $40,000 in one-time assistance to booksellers in financial crisis. The fund serves the antiquarian trade as a whole, and in fact, the majority of those who have benefited in their time of need have not been ABAA members. The fund is maintained through donations, which are fully tax-deductible, and ABAA members as well as other community members have been generous supporters. Bookselling can be a precarious business of feast or famine, and having the fund in place and strong ensures a safety net should the need arise. The fund is administered by the ABAA, but a separate charitable organization. Details and a donation button can be found on the ABAA Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund information page.
Another generous separate charity administered by the ABAA furthers knowledge and an education about the antiquarian book trade. The Elisabeth Woodburn Educational Fund, named for former ABAA president Elisabeth Woodburn, allows the ABAA to award scholarships to various invaluable workshops, seminars and schools to ensure the shared love and knowledge of antiquarian books for generations to come. From courses in bookbinding, restoration and other physical book skills, to conferences dedicated to beginning a rare book collection, evaluating, appraising, buying and selling, there is a wealth of knowledge to be gleaned. Donations are fully tax-deductible, and due to the very low overhead costs virtually all donated money is applied directly to the education initiatives. For more information or to donate, please visit the ABAA Elisabeth Woodburn Fund information page.
The ABAA holds its members to high ethical standards, and asks members to do all they can to prevent the theft of and traffic in stolen books, and to help prevent traffic in frauds and forgeries. This job is handled in part by the ABAA Security Committee. The Security Committee is responsible for establishing and maintaining contact with both the Association membership and the bookselling and library communities at large on matters pertaining to theft, fraud, and trafficking. If you have had books stolen or gone missing, you can contact Security Committee chair Garrett Scott or email the ABAA headquarters in New York to have the material added to the ABAA Security Blog. If you suspect a forgery, the ABAA may be able to make a referral that can help you authenticate your material. For more information on security, please visit The Security Page: Theft & Fraud.