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Phoebe KaoPhoebe Kao holds one of the books she made July 11-12, 2008.

On July 11-12, Phoebe Kao, a librarian from Tianjin International School in Tianjin, China (about 2 hours by train from Beijing) visited Craig Fansler and ZSR Preservation for two days of book repair training. Phoebe found out about Craig and the possibility of book repair training via the NCPC web site. Over several months, we were able to arrive at a good time for her to come to Winston-Salem. During her two days in Preservation, Phoebe made two books (a 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 wide range of other odd repairs. Many times, a repair isn’t as simple as repairing one thing. Most of the time, it is more complex and require several small repairs to the a book back up and running. Phoebe and I spent a good amount of time discussing decision-making. Looking at the damage and thinking about how to repair this damage might require a little more time than the actual repair. Because 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 different supplies. We also talked about what repair material to use-or not use-for different repairs: this is super important since many folks new to repairing books don;t have the experience to know. We spent a good deal of time on repairing paperbacks, since much of Phoebe’s collection is paper bound.Phoebe and I worked together to make a case bound book. We went through the steps of cutting large sheets of paper, folding them into 3 sheet signatures, sawing holes in the signatures for sewing, sewing the signatures with linen thread, attaching end sheets to the sewn text block, making a case from binders board that was covered with paper, 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 value in the profession of librarianship and I felt this was a two day service venture that was profitable for both Phoebe and myself.

-Craig Fansler