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On Friday, July 23, I taught a Basic book Repair Workshop at UNC Charlotte for 18 attendees from around the region. The attendees came from as far as Duke, Greensboro College, UNC-Charlotte, Johnson & Wales University, Rowan County Public Library and Central Piedmont Community College.
The workshop was hosted by my colleague Katie McCormick, Special Collections Librarian at the Atkins Library. We began the day with a discussion of terms, tools and supplies. I pointed out the key tools used in book repair: a bone folder, micro-spatula, PVA-the adhesive of choice for book repair, and good suppliers to obtain these materials. We didn’t go too deeply into terminology, but I did underscore the concept of using acid-free/archival supplies(pH neutral) in their work to ensure the longest life for the work they do with their books and other materials. We also passed around the ZSR Disaster Plan and talked about the importance of this in libraries. I mentioned some of the disasters we have experienced at ZSR and our response.
Before we actually began work, I also wanted to point out the usefulness of enclosures. For libraries with small budgets and no preservation staff, simply enclosing rare, old or brittle materials is a good way to lengthen their viability. We passed around a series of archival boxes, sleeves and envelopes.
I covered a series of simple repairs from the very basic: tipping-in a loose page to replacing a damaged spine. We also practiced repairing torn pages with heat-set tissue, repairing a broken hinge with Japanese paper, attaching loose signatures, tightening hinges and replacing end sheets.
This information is needed by every library and it is something that is hard to learn by reading a book or online tutorial. You really need someone to demonstrate these techniques. The class was very attentive, laughed politely at my feeble attempts at humor, and all seemed to be pleased at day’s end. The next book repair workshop is scheduled for Manteo in September.