It’s March, 2020, and I’m home. When can I safely go back to work again? This question reverberated in my brain, and I’m sure the brains of all of my colleagues at ZSR Library. Slowly, I began to wonder how and if I could do my work, which is primarily, hand work. As this idea developed, I asked my supervisor, Tanya Zanish-Belcher, if I could bring my tools and supplies to my home. The answer was yes! So, I began a slow process of bringing a few supplies (archival board, PVA adhesive, velcro, and basic tools) and items for me to repair or re-house to my home. Patrick Ferrell is my ZSR connection and has been a tremendous help in doing this. Every other week, Patrick rolls a book truck of materials for me to work on to the ZSR loading dock for me to pick up. I leave my completed work for the Circulating Collection and Special Collections and Archives from the previous 2 weeks for him to return to the Circulation sorting area and the Preservation Lab. I appreciate this help immensely. Now, I have a small replica of my lab at home.

Of course, I have my computer set up:

computer set up

This is my primary work area, where I repair books and make archival boxes:

primary workspace

I have the scoring machine which is used for making nice, neat folds on archival boxes. To make a box, you first measure the height, width and thickness of the book. These measurements are transferred to a piece of archival board, which is then cut and scored to wrap around the book vertically. Then, the height/width/thickness of the book is measured along with the vertical piece of archival board. These measurements are transferred to a piece of board as well, and becomes the horizontal piece of the box. The two pieces are glued together to make a cross shape of archival board, which completely encloses the book.

Scoring machine arch boxes

Nearby, on the right with a blue handle, is the “Corner Rounder” for making archival boxes open and close easily and making them last longer. The Kutrimmer, on the left with a red handle, is a very safe device, and is used for cutting archival board.

Kutrimmer and corner rounder

I have our Colibri machine on a table making it easy to use. This machine makes a custom fitted archival dust jacket, and is used often for Special Collections & Archives materials. The dust jacket is made of polyester, which is inert and will not adversely affect the book in terms of acidity. I like to refer to the Colibri machine as a “Seal-a-Meal” for books because it uses a heated metal bar to cut a pouch, and seal the polyester cover material into a custom-sized cover.

Colibri machine

I’ve also been doing some re-framing for display in the SCA Reading Room (625). We always use a facsimile for display, and this is a facsimile of the cover of a student publication from the 1970’s.

Black at WF

It is great to be able to do the majority of things I would normally do in ZSR, at home. Slowly, as I was able to assemble everything at home, I breathed a sigh of relief and started repairing and boxing books. Thanks to everyone who has helped me. I look forward to returning to ZSR when things are safe.