Book Repair

I had so much fun today, for having to be inside. New York State has a Documentary Heritage Program wherein people who work in archives can take courses in proper archival techniques. I’ve signed up for the 8 lecture series that will be given by Cornell University over fall, winter and spring, and went to the first one today, titled: “Care, Handling and Storage of Library and Archive Materials.” The two ladies from Cornell who taught this course were phenomenal! They brought discarded books where the covers were completed off from the text and broken apart, requiring us to do a Full Book Repair! I didn’t know that I would be doing this when I woke up today! Don’t mind me, if you saw my home, you would realize why I get excited – I have floor to ceiling bookshelves in every room – except the bathroom. Not only did I repair a book, I created an MM box, too! So here’s the folded up MM box (sorry the photos are bad today):

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Not perfect, but it was my first time for this whole thing. Here’s the MM box opened up, and inside sits . . . the book I repaired!

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Warning: These are the boring details I wrote so I can remember what I did. Skip ahead if you want to just see the photos. I had to cut the excess paper off the book covers, from the spine and down to the shoulders (without cutting into the shoulders). I had to glue cambric tape (which is linen or cotton tape – the white tape you’ll see) onto just the shoulder of each side. I used an awl to poke 5 holes from the shoulder down to two signatures on each side. I had to do an overcast stitch with linen thread through the holes. Then I glued liner on the spine. I glued spine stiffener on the buckram (the blue stuff on the outside). I put glue on the area of the buckram outside of the spine stiffener. I placed the covers on the buckram, and folded the access up around the top and bottom. Put glue on the bottom of the cambric tape so it will adhere to the cover. Then glue the buckram onto the cover. Here’s the back of the book, showing the buckram:

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Here’s the front inside cover showing the cambric tape glued to the cover.

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And here’s the inside of the back:

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After this is all done, I took the original spine, scraped the original paper off the back, and glued it onto the buckram (sorry for the fuzzy photo):

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The ladies said my book and MM box turned out really good and opened really nice – yay! I wouldn’t want to do this for a living, though, because I was sneezing and sniffing as I was scraping the old paper off the spine parts. Anyway, now that this book is nicely repaired it almost makes me want to read it!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laura
    Sep 22, 2006 @ 18:27:01

    So this is what librarians do all day.


    Interesting process.


  2. Pam
    Sep 22, 2006 @ 19:08:44

    There is a job posting at a nearby University in the rare books department for book repair, and I would dearly love to do this job, but the dust, oh my, the dust from the old paper is very annoying! But lo, I signed up for another session in book repair – just to make sure it is set in my head in case I am ever asked to do it.


  3. Susan Gets Native
    Sep 22, 2006 @ 22:47:02

    That DOES look good enough to read!
    Pam, that was so NOT uninteresting….I think it rocks!


  4. Pam
    Sep 23, 2006 @ 07:50:06

    Thanks Susan! I think it rocks, too! I love books, and I’m not a librarian!


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