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The price of books has gone up, binding quality can be inconsistent, and in the course of repeated circulations, day-to-day handling and shelving, and photocopying, library books can sustain significant damage. However, there is an alternative to replacing "hurt" volumes. Many books can be restored to reasonably good condition if you know how to perform a few simple repairs.

In this course, you will learn how to assess book damage, how to identify which books can be repaired safely, and how to perform basic book repairs. If you, or someone you supervise, is responsible for caring for the condition of your collection, then this course can save you time and help you get those library materials back into users' hands.

Workshop Description: This one-day hands-on workshop covers basic, beginners' level skills for keeping a circulating collection of books in good repair. Participants will gain an understanding of the types of repairs to undertake, how to do the repairs, and the types of damage that need to be addressed by other means. Through discussion, presentation, and actual repair work you will become familiar with the basic book repairs that you can do with simple tools, equipment and materials. All hands-on steps will be clearly illustrated and everyone will practice doing the repairs.

Additionally, you will receive handouts to explain the repairs, a list of suppliers, copies of articles addressing the above topics, where to find information on the web, a bibliography of useful books and other printed material.

Note: This course addresses only repairs and maintenance of general circulating collections, and is not meant for preservation of special, or specialized materials.

Pre-workshop assignment:

Please bring the following items to the workshop:

Three damaged books, if possible no larger than 6"x 9", for you to practice on

Several other damaged books for discussion of evaluation decisions

An apron to protect your clothes

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • The Repair Continuum
    • Easy repairs
      • Cleaning
      • Loose hinges
  • Paper and its Grain
    • Replacing end-sheets
    • Mending tears
  • Page Replacements
    • Practice replacing and tipping in loose pages
  • Spine Replacements
    • Practice replacing worn spines
  • Collection Maintenance
    • Documentation
    • Supplies/suppliers
    • Practice corner repair

Workshop Instructor: Margit J. Smith