I recently taught three workshops, in the east, central and western areas of North Carolina. I hadn’t taught in person since March, 2020 and it was good to get back in the saddle. It always amazes and encourages me how hungry librarians are for this information about repairing their books. I guess we all want our collections to be in good repair for our users! This year, I had a number of middle school, public library, and community college librarians with their own set of book problems. It is fun to be creative in solving these issues. During the last week of September, I taught 37 librarians in Kinston, Asheboro and Marion.
During the workshops, sponsored by the State Library of North Carolina, I taught a progressively more complex series of repairs. We covered tipping-in a loose page-a simple and straight forward repair achieved by applying a thin bead of adhesive into a book joint. We covered using heat-set tissue to repair page tears-this is a thin tissue with a heat activated adhesive on one side. Heat-set tissue is ironed on with a sheet of silicone release paper on top as a buffer. I also taught tearing Japanese tissue into strips to repair broken book joints, as well as, using this tissue for rebacking and rebuilding a damaged spine. This year, I also introduced creating a new cover for a paperback book. We also looked at several ways to repair a damaged or missing cover board corner. On top of these practices, I answered questions…..oh, the questions.
The workshops are structured so that I introduce a skill, and then demonstrate it. Following the demo, the class tries their hand at making the repair. This gives each attendee the opportunity to try the skill out and see what is actually involved. Along the way, each person gets repeated practice using a knife, bone folder and PVA adhesive. I love seeing the attendees line up to iron down heat-set tissue. I have about 10 travel irons for this fun and magical exercise.
The workshops are always fun and encouraging. My goal is to take the fear of damaging a book away, and give them the skills to have a book that needs repair and not blink!