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

Exercise #1 Cleaning Covers and Pages

Exercise #2 Repairing Corners

Exercise #3 Repairing Hinges


  • Importance of grain direction

  • How to determine it

  • Cutting paper

Exercise #4 Determining Paper Grain

Exercise #5 Repairing Tears

Exercise #6Replacing End-sheets

Exercise 7 reattaching book block
Exercise #7Reattaching book block

Replacing pages spines
Replacing Pages/Spines

  • Tipping in pages

    • singles and multiples

  • Replacing spines

    • With new spine overlapping on boards

Exercise #8Tipping in Pages

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)

Exercise #9 Replacing Spines

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.