Conference Proceeding: Book Repair in a Digital World

Today, most people think that if a book is damaged, it’s time to throw it out as everything is online. Besides the fact that not everything is online, there are many titles that are costly to acquire digital rights, and a 15 minute book repair costing just a few dollars would preserve the currently cataloged copy, saving acquisition dollars and staff time. Most librarians treat damaged books by slapping tape on them, which is almost as bad as assuming that everything is online. Over time, these repairs end up doing more harm than good as the tape oozes onto unintended surfaces and is nearly impossible to remove. The tape also puts undue pressure at the point of repair, causing other parts of the book to begin to fall apart from the stress. During my session I will teach participants how to make wheat starch paste to use with Japanese paper to mend and hinge-in pages, as well as how to tighten spines of books. These repairs conform to modern conservation practices as being both durable and reversible. Due to time constraints, I will not be teaching participants how to completely rebind a book, which often is not cost effective and should only be done on non-valuable books that are not replaceable in either digital or book formats.