b asic hands on book repair for libraries 2004 an infopeople workshop spring 2010
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B asic Hands-On Book Repair For Libraries – 2004 An Infopeople Workshop SPRING 2010. Instructor Margit J. Smith [email protected] This Workshop Is Brought to You By the Infopeople Project.

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b asic hands on book repair for libraries 2004 an infopeople workshop spring 2010

Basic Hands-On Book Repair For Libraries – 2004An Infopeople WorkshopSPRING 2010


Margit J. Smith

[email protected]

this workshop is brought to you by the infopeople project
This Workshop Is Brought to You By the Infopeople Project

Infopeople is a federally-funded grant project supported by the California State Library. It provides a wide variety of training to California libraries. Infopeople workshops are offered around the state, and are open registration on a first-come first-served basis.

For a complete list of workshops, and for other information about the Project, go to the Inopeople Web site at infopeople.org.

  • Name
  • Library
  • Position
  • Any previous experience or training with book repair?
  • If so, what was it and did you enjoy it?
workshop overview
Workshop Overview

We will cover procedures and techniques suitable to repair of circulating collections in:

  • Public libraries
  • School Libraries
  • College Libraries

Procedures are not applicable to collections in:

  • Special libraries
  • Special collections
  • Archives
  • Rare book repositories
  • Valuable historic collections
why do in house repair
Why Do In-House Repair?
  • Lower cost than replacement
  • Faster turn-around
  • Extends life of collection
  • Prevents more expensive repairs and replacements
  • Improves the look of collection
  • Leads by example
book anatomy quiz
Book Anatomy Quiz
  • Hinge
  • Spine
  • Cover
  • Joint
  • Head/Tail
  • Fly Leaf/Free Leaf
  • Fore Edge
  • Boards
  • Text Block
  • Gutter
more book anatomy quiz
More - Book Anatomy Quiz
  • Crash/Mull/Cheesecloth
  • Buckram
  • Headband/Tailband
  • Plates
  • Cords
simple repairs
Simple Repairs
  • Simple repairs with inexpensive materials:
    • cleaning
    • mending
    • tightening of hinges
    • repairing corners
    • replacing torn spines
    • replacing endsheeds
advanced repairs
Advanced Repairs
  • Advanced repairs requiring specialized materials and tools
    • mending with Japanese tissue
    • rebuilding spine
    • re-casing with new boards
    • constructing boxes and other enclosures
commercial repairs
Commercial Repairs
  • Library binding in commercial bindery:
    • book block loose from covers and broken in one or several places
    • sections falling out
    • spine completely gone
    • covers torn or partially missing
conservation preservation
  • Preservation includes Conservation and Restoration
  • Conservation stabilizes and strengthens materials for continued use

Conservation by a trained professional

      • re-housing
      • reformatting
      • de-acidifying
      • repairing leather and vellum bindings
      • extensive paper repairs
  • Working on materials to restore them as far as possible to their original state
  • Keeping as much of the original matter as possible
  • Use of materials and techniques contemporaneous with their original production
  • Needs extensive documentation
  • Needs lengthy training
when making repair decisions consider
When Making Repair Decisions Consider…
  • Condition
  • Use and need
  • Timeliness
  • Value:
    • provenance
    • binding
    • plates/illustrations
also consider
Also Consider…
  • Institutional policies
  • Options available
  • Cost comparison
  • Staff ability vs. professional treatment
  • Most are inexpensive
  • Easily available
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to replace
  • Neutral pH, acid-free non-damaging materials and supplies
    • PVA (Polyvinyl acetate) Jade
    • Methyl cellulose or wheat starch paste
    • Acid-free papers for endsheets
  • Sharp knives instead of scissors
    • Mat knives/utility knives, scalpels
  • Starch-filled or impregnated buckram, grades C, D, F.
  • Brushes of various sizes
    • Cleaning
    • Applying adhesives
  • Erasers
    • Magic Rub, art gum, dry-cleaning powders
easy repairs
Easy Repairs
  • Cleaning
  • Repairing corners
    • Only repair complete corners
  • Repairing hinges
    • Two types of hinge repairs
  • Importance of grain direction
  • How to determine it
  • Cutting paper
replacing pages spines
Replacing Pages/Spines
  • Tipping in pages
    • singles and multiples
  • Replacing spines
    • With new spine overlapping on boards
repairing spines
Repairing Spines
  • Repairs with adhesive book cloth
  • Repairs with clear adhesive
  • Repairs with new spine overlapping cover cloth
  • Repairs with new spine under cover cloth (advanced)
collection care
Collection Care
  • Monitor humidity and temperature
  • Use proper shelving and bookends
  • Keep environment clean and dry
  • Train workers in basic sound handling of materials
  • Formulate food and drink policy, then publicize it to users
  • Use security system
more collection care
More Collection Care
  • Inspect building for structural damage
  • Develop a Disaster Plan Manual
  • Conduct Disaster Plan reviews regularly
  • Monitor for mold
  • Monitor for insects
setting up a work space
Setting up a Work Space
  • For a successful in-house repair station you need:
    • large work table
    • easy access to water
    • storage shelves
    • light
    • staff member trained in simple book repair
workflow ideas
Workflow Ideas
  • Identify problems
  • Round up the damaged books
  • Communicate about damage
  • Review candidates for repair and perform triage
  • Work in batches
  • Document completed repairs
  • Order supplies from reliable sources
  • Get samples before ordering large quantities
  • Buy the best quality you can
  • Buy in larger quantities for best prices or batch order with other libraries
  • Keep all equipment and tools clean and sharp
more recommendations
More Recommendations
  • Always clean up your work area when finished for the day
  • Develop book repair policies and procedures
  • Train staff who are interested in book repair and who have some manual dexterity
  • Integrate book repair activities into department’s responsibilities
have fun
  • Be patient with yourself while learning
  • It gets easier the more you do it


  • The books and your users will thank you!
acknowledgements and thanks
Acknowledgements and Thanks

Illustrations in the handouts are from the following sources:

Artemis BonaDea. Conservation Book Repair: A Training Manual. 1995

Carol Dyal, Pete Merrill-Oldham. Three Basic Book Repair Procedures. N.d.

Special thanks to:

University of San Diego Copley Library for donating the PVA.