NCPC Basic Book Repair Workshop, ECU Jan 24-25, 2008
Laupus Medical Sciences Library, East Carolina University
For two days, my colleague, Rachel Hoff and I, discussed and taught preservation concepts and treatments. It was two day-long Basic Book Repair Workshops sponsored by NCPC. Rachel and I have been teaching these workshops for several years both together and individually as our schedule permits. To prepare for this task, in 2004, we both received a 2-day training course at the Etherington Conservation Center in Greensboro. I also assisted Matt Johnson, ECC Book Conservator on one of his workshops.
The classes were filled with library staff from the eastern portion of North Carolina, many from ECU, but also the NC State Archives, Elizabeth City State, Campbell University, UNC-Chapel Hill and many school librarians. We discussed the library environment-cleaning, mold, dust, pest management, etc. and also covered the key preservation issues of “Do No Harm”, reversibility, and appropriate adhesives. Because this was a basic workshop, we also covered tools and assembling a tool kit, reference books (we gave them a bibliography) and web sites for preservation, and suppliers (they received a list). Each participant also received a glossary of preservation terminology, a diagram of the parts of a book, and step by step instructions on spine replacement, tearing Japanese paper and the use of heat-set tissue. We also briefly discussed disaster recovery and treatment solutions.
After the hour long discussion, the rubber hit the road. Rachel demonstrated various methods of tipping in loose pages and hinge tightening methods. Following this, I demonstrated the spine replacement my own students do. We completed making a new spine piece for each book and following a nice lunch overlooking the Medical Sciences campus, we glued the new spine piece into each book. This spine replacement is a tried and true method that I hope will be used by each person when they return home. Rachel has her own version of this spine replacement technique, which she also demonstrated. We also demonstrated using heat-set tissue to repair paper tears and tearing Japanese paper for hinge reinforcement.
Questions abounded from the classes all day long: “should we use tape on that; what do I do when the top edge of the spine is pulling off; is Filmoplast Ok to use; this is too long, do I cut it off, or leave it”.
These workshops are gratifying because many individuals are not able to get this training and are very appreciative of our workshops. The skill level of the participants can range from experienced preservationists to bona fide ‘tapers’. This is a good way to give back to those in our profession by sharing our knowledge and skill. Each time I do a workshop, I feel very fortunate to have all the resources I have to do my job.
Following the first day of the workshop, I decided to visit the Preservation Lab at ECU’s Joyner Library. When I asked at the Circulation Desk, the student didn’t know there was a Preservation Lab. I walked a few steps and saw it listed on the map as being on the very same floor. We both laughed as he called the Preservation Staff, who to my surprise, had been in our workshop that day! ECU has a wonderful lab-it is open, with multiple work spaces for the staff and students, lots of equipment (fume hood, de-acidification sprayer, ultrasonic welder for encapsulation of documents, a 6′ board shear, numerous presses, and job backers, a sewing cradle, and tons of supplies. Each student who works in Preservation has their own work bench-impressive!
The ECU workshops were enriching to me and hopefully, the participants, who were sent home with a packet of information and repair techniques to improve the condition of their own library’s collection.