Thursday, December 5, 2013


As book lovers and conservationists we don’t like to remove original bindings. We work hard in the Preservation Room trying to save as many books as possible from a new binding and restoring them to their original aspect whenever it is possible.
Many times we don’t have a choice other than to remove the original covers as the extent of the damage, or massive use, has made the book unable to return to our stacks. Thus, we have been carefully rebinding them in a stronger conservation cloth (Linen Buckram), in several different colors, not only giving our books a new life but our patrons an almost new book.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Washing and Cleaning Pages

Sometimes in the course of a book's life, it is necessary to disassemble its pages, remove it's covers and separate the signatures, and removing old threads from the original stitching.

Pages are placed in trays for cleaning with water and isopropyl alcohol.

After several washings, and when the water remains clear, the pages are deacidified and placed on racks for drying and resizing whenever needed.

Once these processes are complete, the book will be reunited, sewn and settled into its newly renovated covers.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Oh the weather outside is frightful....

..but the fire is so delightful...and since we've no place to go,
Let it snow Let it snow Let it snow!

Yes those winter days will soon be upon us.  What better way to prepare for the fun of the season than to sit down with a delightful book about the beloved Santa Claus.

This wonderful book was sent to the Conservation Lab for restoration and  received some much needed care and adoration.

The front cover board was broken. The text block had fallen from its casing. The endpapers had suffered the wear and tear from delighted hands who rifled through its lovely pages. 
Spine was split

Spine reattached with Japanese Paper and endpapers restored.

The book was given careful treatment and reconstruction and looks close to its original state.

So as our days move into the restful peace of autumn and towards winter be sure to pick up a good book and enjoy that tactile pleasure of the printed page.  This volume from Special Collections may now rest easier within its newly restored covers.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On Exhibit in Jackson Library

We have shared some examples of the variety of problems we encounter here in Preservation Services, as our books are returned to the Access Services desk, or in some cases, hidden in the stacks, we are always prepared for the unexpected.

Bugs like Books.

The Library offers FREE scanning for your digital convenience.  It is so appalling to find books with sections of pages violently torn from its spine.  Simply scan those wanted pages.

 Markers, highlighters, pencil, colored pencil, post-it stickie notes, paper clips, blue ink pens, red ink pens, black ink pens, fountain pens, crayons, pastels, charcoal.

These marking implements cause irreparable damage to books.  Because it is not your personal copy, please don't mark in library materials.

Use your notebook.



We have the proof.

Tape of any kind is not kind to books.
It leaves a sticky residue
(just like post-it notes, but worse).

Masking, Strapping, First-Aid, Electrical, Scotch, Duct, Mending,  Paper, 

to name a few of the tapes that have arrived on our books. Sometimes we are unable to undo the damage created by the tape that was meant to fix, yet really did more damage in the end.

Please handle drinks and food with
care if you must eat or drink around library materials.
Accidents can happen so quickly.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

P a t r o n R E P A I R S

We appreciate the thought and, sometimes, we marvel at the ingenuity patrons employ in order to avoid what they feel might be a fine-worthy imperfection on an item from the library stacks charged to their account.

We do not charge patrons for normal wear and the subsequent tears and damages books suffer simply from being used a lot by our students and researchers.  It is our job to happily repair these items using archival materials.

  • Tape is bad.

  • Duct tape is especially bad.

  • Duct tape printed with big red smootchy lips is....amusing... but bad none the less.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Admittedly, paperclips are quite a clever invention.  They have many uses - some intended - some never within the realm of the creator's imagination.

From the viewpoint of a bookbinder - they were never intended as a bookmark.
They are too big, too metal, too rough on the page.  
Too bad.

We needed some 'les tissus' when we saw these poor pages.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Enjoy...and Handle with Care

In the Preservation department, our goal is to handle with care and repair or restore those items housed in our stacks that have met with some misfortune and found their way to our lab.

Here are some items that have carefully been repaired 
and are quietly waiting to be sent back to their home in the stacks.

Enjoy our books,
 but please take good
care of them.

Friday, May 24, 2013


In pursuit of Preservation information, a recent patron applied tape to the pages in order to then underline what they deemed significant passages.


Was this to protect the paper?  We don't know.  We do appreciate they did not want to actually write on the page itself, it not being their personal book, but tape is just as harmful to the printed page, if not more damaging.

Pressure sensitive adhesive materials leave a residue and cause the deterioration of the fibers in paper.  These include all variety of sticky notes and every kind of tape, even if the manufacturer has marketed it as a repair material.

Tape is tape is tape...
and will ultimately cause harm to those special materials you are trying to preserve.
(We recommend using thin Japanese paper and rice starch or wheat starch paste to repair torn pages.)

Luckily, after some careful use of tools, we were able to remove this harmful material from the book's pages.  This time...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Preserving our History

 In His Temple doth every Man Speak of his Honour

In the Preservation Services department,
 it is our task to care for those special pieces of history.
We become their Temple of Care. 
Some items from our Rare Books collections require conservation, mending pages
 and recreating hinges and, ultimately, for its own good,
 a micro-environment to protect it from the changing daily elements.
Clam shell boxes specially designed for those special books
 are a great way to gently house these items.

We become the angels of mercy, protecting these creatures from the ravages of time.

They are delightful company.