A clean sweep of a herbal

Today I’m working on a treatment that is basically the rare book equivalent of cleaning under the couch cushions. This 2-volume herbal was used by a previous owner as a plant press, and many leaves, flowers and other assorted plant parts were discovered in-between its pages by our special collections librarian. The plants had already caused damage, such as acid-burn and staining, and also made it difficult for readers to handle or read this book. So we made the decision…

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No love for sticky-notes

💔 💔 💔 💔 No love for whoever used these pink heart-shaped sticky notes in one of our library books. They are now firmly attached to the page, even after only being placed there less than 8 months ago. Our circulation staff sent this book to Preservation after they tried to remove one of the notes, and it ended up taking away some of the page with it! Please, please don’t use sticky notes (such as post-it notes) in library…

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How not to tip-in a page!

Back in 1977, one of our library staff literally stapled some replacement pages into this book. It got the job done, but the results are not that ideal, as it makes it hard to read those pages and could tear the original pages they are stapled to. But this was way before my library had a Preservation department, so I can’t hold it against them! Nowadays in Preservation, we “tip in” replacement pages using a little bit of glue along…

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This was a book that was damaged by a dog, and “fixed” with packing tape by a patron.

Please don’t DIY when it comes to book repair!

And this is also why the staff at the library will often stress that patrons should not attempt their own repairs of library books. The “repair” often does more damage than helps, and won’t actually save you from being fined for a repair or replacement fee. This was so heavily damaged that we ended up withdrawing it, and probably just bought a new copy. But now it has a second life in my office as a great example of “what not to…

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An overly backed book

Never back a book when you’re upset…

Wow, whoever originally backed this 19th century publisher’s binding should’ve really taken a moment to calm down and take a deep breath first before continuing. They really beat the heck out of it with the hammer! Backing is  “the process of shaping a ridge or shoulder on each side of the spine of a text block prior to the application of the spine lining material.” It was accomplished with the use of a backing hammer, while the book was held…

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