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On July 11-12, Phoebe Kao, a librarian from an international school in Tianjin, China visited ZSR Preservation for two days of book repair training. Phoebe came to ZSR via the NCPC web site and over several months, we were able to arrive at a good time for her to come. During her two days in Preservation, Phoebe made two books (western case bound book and an eastern stab binding), replaced spines, tipped in pages, repaired paper tears with heat-set tissue and also tackled a range of other odd repairs. Phoebe and I also spent a good amount of time discussing decision-making before beginning repairs. As a repair is only as good as the materials and technique used, this was time well spent. Another area we discussed was materials and supplies and what suppliers were best for various items. We spent a good deal of time on repairing paperbacks, since much of Phoebe’s collection is paper bound.

Phoebe actually went through the steps of cutting large sheets of paper, folding them into 3 sheet signatures, sewing them with linen thread, attaching end sheets, making a case, and attaching the text block to the case to create a book. Making a book from “scratch” is always a special experience and I felt Phoebe was very happy with her book. This was a great experience from my viewpoint because I felt I was giving information and knowledge directly to a person who needed it badly. Service is a key point in the profession of librarianship and I felt this was a two day service venture that was profitable for both Phoebe and myself.