Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009


A lovely paper binding with a small stick holding everything together
presents an interesting design challenge.

Because it was so wide I was unable to get a nice photo of the entire box.
Here is a detail of the recessed channels in a custom clamshell box enclosure by Audrey.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Please don't feed the animals.

A short film produced by the Preservation Committee at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey day.

Another handmade artists' book from Special Collections. This time with the very interesting choice of turkey-foot leather for the binding! The unique shape offered a challenge and a custom-fit clamshell box was created to make shelving easier.

Turkey Trot by Lois Morrison
Custom clamshell enclosure by Audrey Sage

Friday, November 20, 2009

The cleanest book.

Earlier this year Bill Stewart from Vamp & Tramp Booksellers came to Jackson Library and gave a wonderful presentation on art books. One of the books he brought with him is called Soap Story which consists of two packages wrapped in archival copies of pages from a 1950s woman's magazine. One package contains 6 cubes of soap that the reader is meant to wash with. Inside of each cube is a page of linen paper screen-printed with part of the story. The other package contains a blank album. The reader is instructed to dry and press the pages after they have been released from the soap cubes and insert them into the album to create the finished book.

Jackson Library purchased a copy to be housed in Special Collections and Audrey created yet another lovely custom clamshell enclosure for it. Somehow we managed to resist the urge to tear into the packaging and furiously wash our hands so we could read the story.

Soap Story by Angela Lorenz
Custom clamshell enclosure by Audrey Sage

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Miniature book launcher.

This miniature volume is called A Victorian Garden and has little line drawings of various garden plants. I thought it would be fun to make it "grow" up out of the enclosure so I made this box--when the reader gently opens it a ribbon lifts the book.

A Victorian Garden from Dawson's Book shop in Los Angeles
Custom enclosure by Stefani Hobbick

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

What are you doing this weekend?

Come help out the little furry ones and stock up on some new reading material!

This annual book sale is a fundraiser for
Animal Rescue & Foster Program

It will be huge!

Tell all your friends!

Cat photo courtsey of

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

So cute it hurts.

This miniature book from Mosaic Press is about the size of a postage stamp and is quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen. It is filled with survival tips for mice and wonderfully tiny lithographs.
If a book is shorter than six inches it gets routed to Preservation Services. Our job is to figure out a way to keep it from getting lost on the shelf. Special Collections sent this little one down and Audrey made a brilliant enclosure to keep it safe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Lovely day at the Bookdrop..

One never knows who might visit the library bookdrop....

...poor little guy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Strange shapes.

This is an artist's book that belongs in our Special Collections here at the library.
Since the entire book consists of one long strip of paper rolled into a scroll
it could get lost very easily.
To keep it safe on the shelf, I made this box with a drawer that pulls out.
It has a little tab made from a piece of silk ribbon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Little Library by Todd Pattison
Andover, Massachusetts

Found and altered early 19th-century leather binding with fore-edge clasps. The bookshelves of the altered binding hold seventy-two blank leather- and paper-covered books which open and range in height from 1” to 1.5”. Working full time leaves only so many hours to pursue my own bindings, and I find that I normally spend several months or more completing a single full leather volume. Working on this piece allowed me to bind the same number of books in one night that would otherwise take a year or more. This tends to generate creativity and experimentation and also makes bookbinding pretty fun! 7.5 x 4.75 x 1.5 inches, 19 x 12 x 4 centimeters. Created 2009.

Todd Pattison studied bookbinding with Fred Jordan in western New York state in the late 1970s and early 1980s and went on to study with Hugo Peller and Edwin Heim in Ascona, Switzerland. He is currently senior book conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center where he has worked for the past eighteen years.

From the Guild of Book Workers Marking Time Exhibition.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some people just don't get it.

Denver Bibliophile’s Bedbugs Take a Bite Out of ILL

Denver Public Library has destroyed 31 books and fumigated four areas of its central library after a bedbug infestation caused, ironically, by a patron dedicated to preserving classic literature.

The contaminated books, which are rare works that were borrowed from DPL through interlibrary loan, had been checked out by Roger Goffeney, a retired poet and minister, who volunteers for the online collection Project Gutenberg. Goffeney checked out the books to compare DPL’s print editions to the digital versions to ensure that the works had been scanned accurately. “Not a one [of the loaned books] belonged to us,” DPL spokeswoman Celeste Jackson told American Libraries.

However, in early September library staff discovered bugs, their larvae, and droppings inside books returned by Goffeney. DPL banned him from the library and asked him to bag his outstanding books and return them outside the library building rather than through the book drop. However, he placed them in the book drop a week later, causing a reinfestation, ABC affiliate KMGH-TV reported September 24. “He flat-out refuses to cooperate and has recontaminated the facility,” DPL Manager of Security and Safety Tom Scott said in the September 22 Denver Post. “At this point, it’s an intentional act,” he asserted, noting that this was the first bedbug infestation he has encountered at DPL in his 34-year tenure there.

Goffeney declined to comment to American Libraries, other than saying he expected the library would sue him for the cost of the books and fumigation, and that he would hold off on making a statement until after his anticipated court appearance. However, he told local media that the bedbugs come from his downtown apartment in Cathedral Plaza, which is owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver. “We’ve always had some kind of insect infestation, but it's never been to this degree,” Goffeney told KMGH.

DPL spokesperson Jackson told AL that the replacement cost for the books is estimated at $12,000 and the cost of fumigation at $6,000. She also said the library would likely seek remuneration from Goffeney through a collection agency, per the terms of its borrowers’ agreement. “I have no intention of paying a dime,” Goffeney told KMGH, adding that he’s considering filing a lawsuit to get his borrowing privileges restored.

Gordon Flagg, American Libraries Online
Posted on September 30, 2009.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This is not really a cactus.

Here is a great New York Times article on the unique challenge of preserving the Blaschka collection of glass flowers at Harvard University. These were commissioned in the late 1800's to use as teaching aids for botany students. The collection features hand-blown glass replicas that look exactly like the real thing. Some of the 847 species in the collection are very rare or even extinct so it is important for these models to be preserved for future scholars.
I highly recommend a stop here if you are ever in the Boston area!
"The curators cringe at the thought of decades of schoolchildren's feet vibrating like jackhammers on the fragile models, truncating an iris leaf and shaking green chips off a shrubby trefoil."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Five times the fun.

Before and after shots of a group of encyclopedias.

The leather spines were rotting away so I replaced them with a strong, coated bookcloth.
I mounted what was left of the original spine so these volumes would match the rest of the set.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

What's crusty and yellow and read all over?

There are a number of university scrapbooks that have become unusable in their current brittle condition. This particular volume is from 1936. Notice the overlapping - it is impossible to read the articles without bending/breaking the weak newsprint. This is how we disassemble them in Preservation Services so a digital copy can be produced and saved in the University Archives.
Luckily, the adhesive is water-soluble so we can soak the pages in the sink...
...and then gently lift the clippings off with a metal lifting spatula......and spread them out on blotter paper to dry.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bonefolder, defined.

A bonefolder is a flat piece of polished bone, horn or teflon, usually with one rounded end and one pointed end. This useful tool is used extensively in bookbinding, origami and other papercraft. It is great for folding, scoring, lifting edges and burnishing paper or leather. The photo above shows part of our bonefolder collection in Preservation Services.

The Bonefolder is an amazing, open-access e-journal that deals with bookbinding and bookarts. It is an incredible resource and anyone interested in the field should check it out.

Bonefolder is what we're calling our blog for now. If we think of something we like better we might change it. If you have any suggestions bring 'em on!

What's with the doughnut?

The Jackson Library is home to one of the world's oldest known doughnuts.

In early November, 1980 there was an orientation session held in the Bindery Division (now known as the Preservation Services Dept.) of the Jackson Library. Refreshments consisted of two dozen glazed and cake-type doughnuts as well as coffee with milk and sugar. Some say it was finphobia (a social phobia related to the fear of consuming the last of something) for when the party was over a solitary doughnut was left, coveted by all yet untouched.

Around that same time, the bindery acquired an old stereo radio. The reception was bad in the basement so with the aid of some old picture framing wire and some discarded metal binders, an antennae was rigged up to one of the overhead lights. To complete this montage, the last doughnut was added to one of the metal binders. The college radio station came in loud and clear.

In the months to come other modifications came about - a store-bought antennae and finally in the next year- a ghetto blaster replaced the old stereo. But the Doughnut stayed on. Maybe it was sentimentality or maybe it was pure aesthetic choice in the absence of windows but the Bindery Doughnut hung on the ceiling as a beacon for wandering minds. For five years it dangled from its binder, perfectly preserved by white sugar in a slightly shrunken and crystallized state. One day a student accidentally knocked it from its perch and everyone was astonished when it clinked on the floor like a piece of stoneware. It remained intact except for one small chip.

Today dozens of students, faculty and staff make the pilgrimage into the basement of Jackson Library to see for themselves and pay homage to this mysterious talisman. One has to wonder about the recipe that could preserve such a perishable morsel as a doughnut in such a pristine state for posterity. Only one thing is for one will ever eat it now!

Three-storey, walk-in bookcase anyone?

Bookstore Selexyz Dominicanen designed by Merkx+Girod architects in Maastricht, Netherlands

These posters know what's up.

Last month we put together an exhibit for one of the display cases in the corridor that connects our library to the student center. It included these posters and a number of books in various states of disrepair.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Berries and bird binding + custom clamshell box = the most adorable book ever.

This cute little volume arrived with a front cover that was completely detached from the rest of the book block. Rice-starch paste and a thin strip of Kozo (handmade paper from Japan) were used to reinforce the interior hinge. I selected a color that would blend well with the original marbled endpapers. Rather than cut the Kozo mending strip I tore it for a smoother transition.
More Kozo was used to build-up and cover the exterior hinge. Watered down acrylic paints and a light coat of wax help to give the paper a leather-like appearance.

For the final step I made a custom clamshell box to protect this rare book. I covered it in espresso and cherry-red bookcloth to match the gorgeous binding.