As we begin the New Year, it is my great pleasure to share with you the celebration of a milestone in Worldwide's history: our golden anniversary.
Founded in New York City in 1962, Worldwide Books initially focused on carefully identifying, prioritizing, documenting and supplying the most important exhibition and collection catalogues produced by hundreds of museums and galleries throughout the world. In 1969, Worldwide moved from New York to Boston, and in 1987 relocated to Ithaca, New York.
In 1992, Worldwide greatly expanded its offerings by including American trade and university press art books not related to exhibitions. In the first year of the program, Worldwide listed some 600 new trade and university press books to complement the more than 1,000 museum publications we offered that same year. Over the past 20 years, our trade program has grown steadily, with coverage expanding each year to include more titles and a wider range of publishers. Last year our Approval Plan Program encompassed some 2,200 new exhibition catalogues and more than 3,500 new trade and university press books.
In July of 1996, at a time when the World Wide Web was still in its infancy, Worldwide launched its innovative Web site. An initial group of some 30,000 records, all carefully categorized and coded by subject, medium, artist, period, publisher and other topics, was the basis of a unique, content-rich Web site featuring sophisticated search options. Today, Worldwide's Web site provides records for more than 107,000 titles, among them thousands of out-of-print volumes permanently retained in the database for reference purposes along with hundreds of forthcoming titles.
Since the very beginning, Worldwide's highly flexible Approval Plan Program has been a central part of our services, providing libraries with an efficient and reliable way to develop collections systematically, efficiently and economically. The titles that Worldwide carefully selects for inclusion in the program are also made available through our Web site to libraries that prefer to order on a title-by-title basis.
Worldwide's unparalleled inventory, which includes thousands of out-of-print or hard-to-find exhibition catalogues from the past five decades, has enabled us to compile unique and important opening-day and retrospective collections for libraries throughout the world, most notably for the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Tainan National College of the Arts in Taiwan, and the newly formed library for the Hong Kong campus of Savannah College of Art and Design, which opened in 2010.
The past half-century has been marked by a great deal of change for publishers and libraries alike, and for Worldwide Books as a bridge between the two. Our role as a trusted and reliable source for museum publications and other art books is a responsibility we continue to take very seriously. As we celebrate our anniversary year, we also celebrate the permanence of the printed word in all its forms, the beauty of the illustrated book, and the scholarship behind the thousands of exceptional books and catalogues we have had the privilege of supplying to our library clients since 1962.
With our thanks, and our best wishes for the New Year,