On June 6, 2008, I taught an Intermediate Book Repair workshop for the North Carolina Preservation Consortium at Wake Forest. There were nine people from various schools across the state: ECU, WFU Professional Center Library, Catawba College and Appalachian State, Warren Wilson College and Campbell University. During the day, I covered a variety of repairs: spine replacement, tipping in pages, end sheet replacement, 4-flap enclosures, paper tears and tightening hinges. The great thing about these workshops is the opportunity to learn from each other and share our collective knowledge. There’s more than one way of doing many of these repairs, so I enjoyed getting ideas from the participants. The NCPC workshops have a basic, intermediate and advanced workshop structure. The basic workshops are the most popular and cover the most ground. The intermediate workshop adds more complicated repairs to the mix. We’ve only offered the advanced workshop one time. This is a great way to share your knowledge and experience and make contact with others doing similar work across North Carolina. I always have a good feeling after doing these workshops.
NCPC Basic Book Repair Workshop, ECU Jan 24-25, 2008
Laupus Medical Sciences Library
For two days, my colleague, Rachel Hoff and I, discussed and taught preservation concepts and treatments. It was two day-long Basic Book Repair Workshops sponsored by NCPC. Rachel and I have been teaching these workshops for several years both together and individually as our schedule permits. To prepare for this task, in 2004, we both received a 2-day training course at the Etherington Conservation Center in Greensboro.
We discussed the library environment-cleaning, mold, dust, pest management, etc. and also covered the key preservation issues of “Do No Harm”, reversibility, and appropriate adhesives. Because this was a basic workshop, we also covered tools and assembling a tool kit, reference books (we gave them a bibliography) and web sites for preservation, and suppliers (they received a list). Each participant also received a glossary of preservation terminology, a diagram of the parts of a book, and step by step instructions on spine replacement, tearing Japanese paper and the use of heat-set tissue. We also briefly discussed disaster recovery and treatment solutions.
After the hour long discussion, the rubber hit the road. Rachel demonstrated various methods of tipping in loose pages and hinge tightening methods. Following this, I demonstrated the spine replacement my own students do. We completed making a new spine piece for each book and following a nice lunch overlooking the Medical Sciences campus, we glued the new spine piece into each book. We also demonstrated using heat-set tissue to repair paper tears and tearing Japanese paper for hinge reinforcement.
These workshops are gratifying because many individuals are not able to get this training and are very appreciative of our workshops.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve worked with the Professional Center Library to set up a small preservation area. This week, Angie Hobbs from PCL came over to ZSR and we worked for a few hours on some of her more pesky repairs. We consolidated a text block and applied end sheets; replaced a spine; re-attached a loose text block to its cover; repaired rotted leather hinges using Japanese paper; and covered an assortment of other small repair issues. This not only helps PCL with their preservation training, but it also helps me to review these techniques under a watchful eye. It was a good session which will hopefully continue to produce good will.
I had the opportunity to learn a 14th century binding style in a workshop Oct 23-26. Using signatures that were sewn over alum-tawed leather thongs, we made a cover for this binding from calfskin vellum. Vellum is a term that is often interchangeable with parchment, but usually parchment refers to goat/sheepskin and vellum to calfskin. Vellum was used for many things, including covers for texts. After centuries of use, it came to replace papyrus as the preferred writing surface. Only when paper became readily available was vellum replaced for writing and printing purposes.