1980 – 1990
“By the 1980s the biennial congresses were attracting several hundred delegates. A certain amount of business gets transacted (the subjects cropping up most frequently being standards of collation, the training of new entrants to the trade, and relationships with the auction houses). Its harsher critics say that the League is only a talking-shop – and it is true that the social side of congress life is very pleasant, the national association sponsoring each congress taking great care to mount an interesting programme. Highlights have included a visit by private train to the library of Chatsworth, private concerts in the Fenice Theatre and Les Invalides, a barbecue on the Berkelouw’s farm near Sydney, a banquet in a palazzo on the Grand Canal, and the whole of our Japanese experience. Deserving special mention is an exhibition at L’Assemblée nationale in 1988, where the procèsverbal from the trial of Joan of Arc was put on display. Rumour had it that the personal intervention of François Mitterand, President of France, was needed for this treasure to be shown. In the atmosphere fostered by such enternments friendships are easily forged, which can only be a good thing.” (Anthony Rota)
"Amor librorum nos unit ...
The 80s were filled with ILAB events from America to Europe and Asia: 26th Congress and 9th International Book Fair in New York 1980, 27th Congress and 10th International Book Fair in London, 28th Congress and 11th International Book Fair in Venice 1986, finally the 29th Congress and 12th International Book Fair in Paris, Presidents’ Meetings in Kyoto 1981, Amsterdam 1982, Stockholm 1983, Munich 1985, Vienna 1987 and Yverdon 1989.
The ILAB looked back at its history with the election of Bob de Graaf and John Lawson – long-time Committee members, Vice-Presidents and ILAB Presidents – as ILAB Presidents of Honour. At the same time the League prepared for the future as another step for increasing the number of members worldwide was taken: 26 Korean antiquarian booksellers established the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Korea (ABAK) in 1989 and got in touch with the ILAB Committee.
... nothing else does!”
The Presidents John Lawson from Great Britain (1981-1985), Hans Bagger from Denmark (1985-1988) and Anthony Rota (1988-1991) worked hard to spread the ideas and ideals of the League throughout the world. Book collectors and bibliophiles became familiar with the ILAB logo in every country, and the ILAB Code of Ethics was generally accepted as a guarantee for knowledge, expertise and good practice in the rare book trade.
“People should feel free to visit any ILAB member anywhere in the world and know they can expect the highest standards of ethics and expertise.”
Or, as Anthony Rota, continued: "Amor librorum nos unit, nothing else does!"