The 2011 Convention has been cancelled. If you've already registered, you will receive a refund.

2011 Convention

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In My Book

Bookmark Collector


Needle and Thread

Needle and Thread

The First Virtual Convention for Collectors!

The Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention brings together bookmark collectors from around the world to share their collections, experiences, techniques, and ideas.

Why Bookmark Collectors?

Bookmarks have been in existence for as long as there have been books, and for the bookmark collector their meaning goes beyond their mundane purpose of marking a position within a book. Made out of materials that vary from paper to precious gems, they are pieces of art, souvenirs, craft samplers, time capsules, and cultural flotsam. Although their prices vary from free to thousands of dollars, collectors ascribe value based on personal meaning, judgment of beauty, and fit within a series.

Why a Bookmark Collectors Convention?

There are four general reasons any collector benefits from a convention:

  • Education: learn history, craft, and technique
  • Commerce: meet vendors, buy and sell items, swap, and order custom work
  • Exposure: galleries, exhibits, and displays
  • Social: meet fellow professionals and hobbyists, organize groups

Why a Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention?

A virtual convention can provide all of these benefits to a bookmark collector, but without the cost of attending (travel, accommodations, food, etc). And by eliminating the cost of the facility, the expense of housing speakers, and the service expense of attending to the physical needs of the attendees, the fees for the conference are radically reduced. Since the only requirement to attend is a computer and access to the internet, collectors from all over the world have access to the convention.

Who Is Organizing This Convention?

Here are two of the people involved with organizing the convention.

Alan Irwin (email: - Founder and Organizer

A software engineer by profession, Alan will be the primary technology wizard for the Convention as well as chief organizer. If something around the Convention isn't working for you, be sure to let him know.

Alan is the proprietor of the Bookmark Collector blog ( Every week he publishes the Bookmark Bookmarks round up of the week's internet news and links concerning bookmarks: design competitions, craft tutorials, new items released by manufacturers, handmade bookmarks, downloadable designs, collection postings, and any other bookmark related news stories that find their way onto the web.

His own collection is a mix of free promotional bookmarks (comic book conventions being a favorite source), souvenirs purchased during his travels, vintage bookmarks from antique shops, or hand-crafted bookmarks purchased and swapped. A collector and crafter by nature (or nuture if you were to meet his family), Alan is looking forward to developing a community that will promote bookmark collecting and advance the experience of bookmark collectors with opportunities to explore and enhance their collections.

Lauren Roberts (email: - Organizer

Lauren became a bookmark collector purely by accident. She blames it on the hair. "I was browsing the shelves at  local used bookstore," she notes "when I noticed an old olive-colored book entitled The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac. Being fond of both old volumes and books about books, I pulled it off the shelf only to have it fall open to pages 55-56. Tucked neatly at the beginning of the chapter entitled 'Baldness and Intellectuality,' a bookmark particularly apropos to its location, sat quietly: hair. Specifically, a clump of golden brown hair, male from the length of it. It had lain undisturbed for so long it had even left visual stigmata on the page under it. I was enchanted and remain so. It is the only bookmark I own that stays in the book and the only one made of hair. But that experience has grown into a collection of more than 1,300 bookmarks."

Her collection has no particular focus. "Whatever attracts me," she says, and so the collection has bookmarks made of silver, brass, stainless steel, leather, paper, silk, linen, fiberglass, of bookmarks that date from 1865 to 2009, of bookmarks that span subjects from advertising to war, of bookmarks that come from countries ranging from Australia to Serbia, and of bookmarks that ranged from free to several hundred American dollars. She loves to share her collection, though she is cautious about boring non-bookmark people. (Are there any?)

In January 2006, Lauren started up BiblioBuffet, an online literary salon. BiblioBuffet has grown enormously from its wobbly beginnings and now boasts eight contributing writers and a managing editor. One of its primary features is a bi-weekly column on bookmarks. Co-written by Lauren Roberts and Laine Farley, another enthusiastic collector, "On Marking Books" focuses on bookmarks. Topics have included the history of various trends and companies behind advertising bookmarks, the historical significance of bookmarks, bookmark legends, bookmarks in war, odes to bookmarks, bookmark storage and display ideas, bookmarks in history, die-cut bookmarks, souvenir bookmarks, and more. There's always something new about bookmarks, particularly old ones. Lauren is not only an enthusiastic collector of the old and the new, but also an "enabler" who is always willing to help another admirer get started.